The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) launched a landmark Global Assessment Report providing persuasive evidence on the rapid deterioration of nature and its contributions to people across the world. The report which overlaps with the G7 environment ministers meeting in Metz, Paris, is a wake-up call to policy makers and businesses to take decisive action stressing on an urgent need for a new deal for nature and people by 2020.
The 1,800-page scientific study is the first comprehensive snapshot of the state of the world’s biodiversity since 2005 with evidence provided by 400 world’s leading experts from across 50 countries. Echoing many of the findings of WWF’s Living Planet Report published in 2018, it paints an alarming picture of species extinctions, wildlife population declines, habitat loss and depletion of ecosystem services crucial for our sustenance and economic development.
As per the findings of the IPBES report, human actions have significantly altered nature across the globe. Three-quarters of the land-based environment and roughly 66 percent of the marine environment have been significantly altered. More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75 percent of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production. Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.
The report also offers a comprehensive study of the interlinkage between climate change and nature loss. Among the major contributors of ecosystem changes, human-driven climate change is identified among the key drivers exacerbating the impact of other drivers on nature and human well-being. Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled, raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius while the global average sea level has risen by 16 to 21 centimeters since 1900. These changes have contributed to widespread impacts in many aspects of biodiversity including species distributions.
"The Global Assessment report offers irrefutable evidence of not only the unprecedented decline of nature but its risks to human lives and prosperity. The need for urgent action hasn't been more clear. Business as usual is not an option anymore. The report offers hope for setting nature on path to recovery through transformative change by redefining our approach for a more sustainable future," said Rebecca Shaw, Chief Scientist, WWF.