The Biodiversity Crisis Needs Its Net Zero Moment

Climate change isn’t the only major crisis facing the world. We’re in the middle of a mass extinction, and we’re missing all of our biodiversity targets.

October 2021 was an important month for crisis meetings. There was the big one, COP26, where decisionmakers descended on Glasgow to spend two frenetic weeks figuring out how to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement and keep global heating under 1.5 degrees Celsius. But earlier that month, a different crisis meeting took place that almost completely slipped below the radar—a meeting that will have huge implications for the future of every living thing on our planet.

The world is in the middle of a biodiversity crisis. Birds, mammals, and amphibians are going extinct at least 100 to 1,000 times faster than they did in the millions of years before humans began to dominate the planet. In the last 500 years alone, human activity has forced 869 species into extinction, according to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). If things continue at their current rate, we’re on track for a sixth mass extinction—the first since that infamous dino-ending catastrophe 65 million years ago, which sparked an extinction event that eventually knocked off 76 percent of all species.

This time around, there’s no giant asteroid to pin the blame on. Humans have transformed the planet, turning half of all habitable land into agriculture and replacing wild animals with livestock. In the oceans, we are continuing the trend our ancestors began on land tens of thousands of years ago—hunting large species to the point of collapse and leaving mostly smaller species behind. In other words, biodiversity is in desperately bad shape.

Read full article The Biodiversity Crisis Needs Its Net Zero Moment at: