News Selection – Biodiversity
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Biodiversity.
Raising the profile on the largest environmental issue of our time
13/7/2018: An interview with Robert Scholes, ecologist and co-chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) assessment, about land degradation and efforts needed to halt and reverse the catastrophe. Source: IPS News
Tread Softly Comment: In choosing land degradation for its most recent Assessment Report, IPBES has made a significant contribution to greater media attention to that topic. It's telling that a scientific body set up by the Convention on Biological Diversity should promote a subject that sits more naturally under the Convention to Combat Desertification. Scholes laments that the latter "hasn’t gone anywhere at all". If only UN bodies could merge as easily as corporations, the three Rio Conventions (climate, biodiversity, desertification) would have joined up their efforts years ago. Relevant Briefing: Causes of Biodiversity Loss
Scientists call for Paris-style agreement to save life on Earth
28/6/2018: Conservation scientists believe our current mass extinction crisis requires a far more ambitious international agreement on biodiversity, in the style of the Paris Climate Accord. Source: The Guardian
Nature retention, not just protection, crucial to biodiversity
27/6/2018: A team of Australian researchers argue that the scale of the planet's protected areas is an insufficient goal for halting loss of biodiversity. The extent of actual biodiversity within these areas is more important.
Activists blast EU for allowing palm oil in biofuels until 2030
14/6/2018: The European Parliament and EU member states have agreed to phase out palm oil from motor fuels by 2030, much later than the initially proposed deadline of 2021. Activists say that rainforest destruction will continue.
Great green wall brings hope to Sahel
11/6/2018: The idea of a green corridor crossing the dry regions of the African continent has made modest progress to date. Now the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative has been launched by the African Union. with major donor support.
The plastic cycle
5/6/2018: Plastic waste is a major threat to ocean biodiversity, as well as human health. The world lacks technology and capacity to cope with the massive demand for recycling. Sunita Narain concludes that there is no option but to live without plastic.
The global impacts of food production
31/5/2018: What is the best way to reduce food's environmental impact? A study of 38,000 farms producing 40 different agricultural goods around the world concludes that a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth.
Restricting global warming to 1.5C could halve risk of biodiversity loss
17/5/2018: Limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels rather than 2C could halve the number of vertebrate and plant species facing severe losses by the end of the century.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature
15/5/2018: The UK government is building its environmental strategy around the concept of natural capital which implies that a monetary value can be placed on ecosystems. George Monbiot believes this approach is flawed.
South Georgia declared rat-free
9/5/2018: The world’s biggest project to eradicate a dangerous invasive species has been declared a success, as the remote island of South Georgia is now clear of the rats and mice that had devastated its wildlife for nearly 250 years.