World leaders are looking toward a post-COVID-19 world and planning to put the planet at the center of recovery plans. More than 60 countries, including France, Germany and the U.K., have pledged to promote sustainable economic systems and slash pollution by 2050.
The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature was introduced on Monday with 64 signatories. By signing, leaders promised to address issues such as deforestation, ecosystem degradation, illicit wildlife and timber trafficking, the climate crisis, unsustainable fishing and environmentally harmful subsidies as well as to take steps to transition to a circular economy.
“Science clearly shows that biodiversity loss, land and ocean degradation, pollution, resource depletion and climate change are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. This acceleration is causing irreversible harm to our life support systems and aggravating poverty and inequalities as well as hunger and malnutrition,” the pledge reads. “Despite ambitious global agreements and targets for the protection, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity, and notwithstanding many local success stories, the global trends continue rapidly in the wrong direction. A transformative change is needed: we cannot simply carry on as before.”
This is a busy time for environmental promises. On Wednesday, the UN is virtually hosting a major biodiversity summit from New York. More than 116 heads of governments and states are trying to get on the summit’s oversubscribed speakers’ roster.
The U.K. is an enthusiastic supporter of the nature pledge. “We must act now — right now. We cannot afford to dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all. Extinction is forever — so our action must be immediate.” Johnson said that by 2030, 30% of the U.K.’s land will be reserved for nature.
Countries large and small from five continents have signed on, including Mexico, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Kenya, Fiji, the Seychelles and Mexico. But a few important players are noticeably absent, such as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Xi Jinping, the leaders of the U.S., Brazil and China, respectively.
“Many of the most important countries in the world that are causing climate change due to their emissions of greenhouse gases, and/or are destroying their biodiversity, are not signatures to this pledge,” said Robert Watson, former chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, to the Guardian. “Without countries such as the USA, Brazil, China, Russia, India, and Australia we cannot succeed in achieving the Paris Climate goal or halting and ultimately reversing the loss of biodiversity.”
Via The Guardian
Image via Arek Socha