From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Highlights of the report
Mains level : Threats of mass extinction
Global Assessment Report
- It is compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries and is a cornerstone of an emerging body of research the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
- Known as the Global Assessment, the report found that up to one million of Earth’s estimated eight million plants, insect and animal species is at risk of extinction, many within decades.
- It suggests the world may need to embrace a new “post-growth” form of economics if it is to avert the existential risks posed by the mutually-reinforcing consequences of pollution, habitat destruction and carbon emissions.
- The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012 under the auspices of UNEP.
- The objective of IPBES is to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.
- The IPBES secretariat is based in Bonn, Germany.
Findings of the report
- The report identified a range of risks, from the disappearance of insects vital for pollinating food crops, to the destruction of coral reefs that support fish populations that sustain coastal communities, or the loss of medicinal plants.
- It found that the average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900.
- The threatened list includes more than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals, and more than a third of all marine mammals.
- The picture was less clear for insect species, but a tentative estimate suggests 10% are at risk of extinction.
Threats posed by human activities
- Relentless pursuit of economic growth, twinned with the impact of climate change, has put one million species at risk of extinction.
- The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed.
- This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.
- Only a wide-ranging transformation of the global economic and financial system could pull ecosystems that are vital to the future of human communities worldwide back from the brink of collapse.
- The authors identified industrial farming and fishing as major drivers with the current rate of species extinction tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the last 10 million years.
- Climate change caused by burning the coal, oil and gas produced by the fossil fuel industry is exacerbating the losses, the report found.
- The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global.
- By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.
- The findings will also add to pressure for countries to agree bold action to protect wildlife at a major conference on biodiversity due to take place in China towards the end of next year.