UN Report on biodiversity

Question: As per UN report, what is the estimated number of species which face the risk of extinction due to human intervention is?
(a) 1.2 million
(b) 1 million
(c) 2 million
(d) 0.5 million
Answer: (b)
Related facts:

  • As per a latest United Nations report, around a million of species are on a verge of extinction due to human intervention. The report shows the devastating impact of modern civilization on the natural world.
  • An impassioned appeal was made by scientists to the governments and businesses worldwide to avoid the blockade of reforms in farming, energy and mining needed to save the Earth’s ecosystems.

The report:

  • The landmark report by seven lead co-authors from universities across the world linked the loss of species to human activity. It also shows how those losses are undermining food and water security, as well as human health.
  • The report was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which groups 130 countries, including the United States, Russia and China.
  • The report is compiled in over three years and based on 15,000 scientific papers.
  • The threatened list includes more than 40 percent of amphibian species and almost 33 percent of reef-forming corals, sharks and shark relatives. It also includes more than a third of all marine mammals.
  • The report is known to be a Global Assessment and finds 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 warns of an imminent rapid acceleration in the global rate of species extinction.

Causes of extinction:

  • This phenomenon is taking place due to increased loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves poses no less of a threat than climate change.
  • Wild bee species critical to pollination are on decline.
  • Deforestation and agriculture, including livestock production, account for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions have a very destructive impact over the natural ecosystem.

Mass extinction event:

  • The pace of loss has grown from tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years.
  • Alleged mass extinction event — only the sixth in the last half-billion years is already said to be under way.
  • Rising population which is leading to hunting of animals, reduction in green areas as well as constant conflict with animals is also found a serious cause contributing to this situation.
  • Earth is a home to some eight million distinct species; insects making a majority of them. A quarter of catalogued animal and plant species are already being crowded, eaten or poisoned out of existence.
  • The report finds that the direct causes of species loss include shrinking habitat, hunting for food or illicit trade in body parts, climate change, pollution etc.

Other findings in the report:

  • Seventy five percent of land surfaces, 40% of the marine environment, and half of inland waterways across the globe have been severely altered.
  • More than 2 billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, around four billion rely on natural medicines, and more than 75% of global food crops needs animal pollination.
  • Subsidies given by the government to sectors like fisheries, industrial agriculture, livestock raising, forestry, fossil fuel energy encourage waste, inefficiency and over-consumption.


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