Scientists gathering in Paris are issuing a dramatic warning of the effects that human activity is having on the world’s biodiversity — saying species are being wiped out at an unprecedented rate. Their 1,800 page report was released Monday at a meeting of experts and officials from 132 nations at the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
The situation, as scientists describe it, is serious. In a statement, IPBES estimates that “about one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction over the next few decades, something that has never happened before in human history. Nature is globally declining at an unprecedented rate in human history,” warns the scientists’ report.
The scenario they describe is frightening because all depend on the same ecosystem, without exception. Biodiversity is the diversity of the eight million animal and plant species on Earth. The current rate of their extinction, scientists say, is higher than the average of the last 10 million years.
“On average, about a quarter of all species, across many groups, are threatened with high risk of extinction,” said Thomas Brooks, the International Union For Conservation of Nature’s chief scientist.
This IPBES gathering is the first of several events to put the ecosystem at the center of discussions. Next deadline: the G-7 at the end of August in Biarritz, chaired by France, which wants to put biodiversity on the agenda.