MILLION SPECIES AT RISK OF EXTINCTION: UN
07, May 2019
Prelims level : Environment Mains level : Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News:
- The report found that up to one million of Earth’s estimated eight million plant, insect and animal species is at risk of extinction, many within decades.
- Relentless pursuit of economic growth, twinned with the impact of climate change has put an” unprecedented” one million species at risk of extinction, scientists said in a landmark report on the damage done by modern civilisation to the natural world. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well- being in all regions of the world.”
145 authors, 50 countries
- Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, the study is a cornerstone of an emerging body of research that 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.
- Known as the Global Assessment, the report found that up to one million of Earth’s estimated eight million plant, insect and animal species is at risk of extinction, many within decades. 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 findings 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.
- 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.
IUCN Red Data Book : Threatened Species classification
- International Union for Conservation of Nature treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories: vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered, depending on the degree to which they are threatened.
- Critically Endangered (Cr) is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN for wild species. Endangered (EN) species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. Vulnerable (VU) species is a species which has been categorised by the IUCN as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
- A species becomes extinct when the last existing member of that species dies.