‘We are failing to ensure a stable planet for future generations’

Birds, photo: Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash
Birds, photo: Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

More than 60 countries promised on Monday to cut air pollution, eliminate ocean plastic, and transition to more sustainable food systems by 2030. They pledged to stop nature loss and protect Earth’s crucial biodiversity.

The pledge comes just two weeks after the UN’s periodic review of existing global conservation plans found that nations were set to miss all 20 targets they set themselves back in 2010 to halt nature loss.

The WWF’s biennial Living Planet Index, released separately this month, showed that wild populations of animals, birds, fish and plants had plummeted nearly 70 percent since 1970

“Two major reports published this month conclude we are utterly failing to protect the diversity of life on Earth,” said Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the international Earth Commission. 

“We are failing to protect the resilience of our global commons. And we are failing to ensure a stable planet for future generations,” he added.

Last year, the UN’s biodiversity panel IPBES warned that up to one million species faced extinction as human activity had severely degraded three-quarters of land on the planet.

Ending subsidies for fossil fuel
Nations, including Germany, France, Britain and Mexico, promised to develop an “ambitious” plan ahead of next year’s UN COP15 Biodiversity Conference in China.

This would include ending harmful subsidies for fossil fuel and boosting restoring wild spaces such as forests and wetlands, and retooling global farming systems to reduce forest loss and food waste. 

Currently, one-third of food produced, around 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted each year. Rich nations alone waste almost as much food (220 million tonnes) as the total production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes), according to the UN Environment Programme. 

“Nature and biodiversity loss is so severe that it poses grave risks to our health, economy and livelihoods,” said WWF International director general Marco Lambertini. “We can’t ignore it any longer, and we must act decisively.”

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