The world is going through a biodiversity crisis. Birds, mammals, and amphibians have been suffering extinction between 100 and 1.000 times faster than before human beings started dominating the planet. In last the 500 years, over eight hundred species have been extinct, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
But currently, there is no giant asteroid as a rationale. Human beings have transformed the planet to guarantee our survival. Still, when outstripping some limits, we have threatened the continuity of other species and biodiversity.
In its most recent meeting, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference deputies tried to reach an agreement on a new set of global goals to contain the negative effect on global biodiversity. Something similar to the Paris Agreement. Those goals will be debated and concluded at their next meeting in April 2022.
The first draft of the so-called Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework defines four main targets to be reached by 2050, along with 21 more specific ones to be evaluated in 2030.
The first goal includes a commitment to reduce extinction in 10% up to 2050 and to interrupt or revert the current increase in the extinguishing rate by 2030. It also includes a 50 percent reduction in the introduction of invading species and a cut in the fertilizers used in farms by half up to 2030.
However, this is an overly complex issue. Some specialists question the means we can use to reduce the extinguishing levels as there is no certainty on how many species are being extinct at this moment. Also, the extinguishing rates vary among distinct groups of species. It is difficult to establish a simple metric.
Having a goal is the first step
As we have learned with the issue of climate change, having an objective to reach is a beginning and a major step. Global emissions of the greenhouse effect have not reached their peak yet and, even considering the current goals for zero emissions, the projection is that the global temperature will increase about 2.1 degrees up to 2100, in comparison with pre-industrial levels. This is much over the goal of the Paris Agreement for limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
One of the proposed goals that have already gained momentum is the “30 by 30” initiative to guarantee that at least 30 percent of the terrestrial and maritime areas are under protection up to 2030.
Although difficulties still exist, it shows signals that it is possible to revert the biodiversity crisis. Many of the main biodiversity spots in the world are also important carbon captors, which means that the efforts to conserve carbon will also preserve crucial habitats.