Summit on major biodiversity report opens in Paris

The summit on biodiversity is taking place in Paris until May 4

A summit to evaluate the declining state of the planet’s biodiversity has started today in Paris, presenting findings from a new 1,800-page expert report that warns of possible “mass extinction”.

The meeting unites representatives from 130 countries worldwide, and has been dubbed the “first global evaluation of [the planet’s] ecosystems” to take place in almost 15 years.

It is taking place at the UNESCO Headquarters until Saturday May 4.

It comes as experts say that the destruction of nature is threatening humanity “at least as much” as climate change.

The summit will present findings from a 1,800-page report created by scientists at biodiversity group The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Among its major findings, the report showed that one quarter of the 100,000 species studied - just a small section of the estimated eight million species on the planet - were at risk of extinction, or under pressure from agriculture, fishing, hunting, or climate change.

It also suggested that the situation could be leading us to what scientists have called “the beginning of the 6th mass extinction” - the first since the appearance of humans on Planet Earth.

This report is expected to become the major resource of reference for biodiversity from now on, and experts hope that its evaluation and conclusions will become the platform on which further changes are made.

It is also likely to prompt ambitious targets expected to be set at the 2020 UN Convention on biological diversity (COP15), to be held in China next year.

Robert Watson, IPBES president, said: “The proof is undeniable. Our destruction of biodiversity and our ecosystem has reached levels that are threatening our wellbeing at least as much as climate changes brought about by humans.”

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