(PhysOrg.com) -- World leaders have failed to deliver commitments made in 2002 to reduce the global rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, says a study co-authored by a Visiting Professor from the University of Bath.
Instead there has been an alarming decline in the number of species on the planet.
Simon Stuart, Visiting Professor at the Biodiversity Lab in the University’s Department of Biology & Biochemistry and Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, has called for governments to act urgently.
He said: “We now know that the 2010 target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss hasn’t been met. It can no longer be ‘business as usual’ without there being serious consequences for all life on earth.
“We need governments and all of society to understand that the biodiversity crisis is real and is happening now. World leaders faced the economic crisis head on. We need that same level of investment and commitment for the environment.”
The study, published last week in the journal Science, used more than 30 indicators to measure different aspects of biodiversity, including species’ populations and risk of extinction. The study was a collaboration of more than 40 international organisations and agencies, including IUCN.
The results form part of the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be released on May 10 in Nairobi, when government representatives from around the world meet to discuss the 2010 target and how to address the biodiversity crisis.
Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Head of IUCN’s Species Programme said: “We can no longer use the excuse that we don’t know enough about the loss of diversity of life on our planet. Last year the analysis of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ showed that biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate. This much broader study confirms those findings.
“The role of governments is paramount but the magnitude and rate of loss of biodiversity means that everyone, from individuals to businesses, must act now to save all life on earth before we reach breaking point.”
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More information: www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1187512