MEPs are calling for a set of legally binding biodiversity targets that EU nations must agree to ahead of the next major UN climate conference.
While much of the discussion surrounding the climate crisis has focused on emissions and renewable energy, biodiversity is also one of the big topics of conversation. Now, MEPs are calling for a set of legally binding agreements ahead of the UN biodiversity conference, COP15, being held in China in October.
In a statement today (16 January), MEPs called on four key targets to be achieved by 2030. These include ensuring that at least 30pc of EU territory consists of natural land, restoring damaged ecosystems, placing biodiversity objectives into all EU policies, and earmarking at least 10pc of future EU budgets to the endeavour.
This largely echoes targets proposed by recent draft legislation put forward by the UN.
MEPs also called for more sustainable agricultural and forestry practices, including EU-wide binding reduction targets on pesticide use.
A need to act fast
“For parliament, the crucial points will be defining European and global objectives for biodiversity that should include better protection of natural ecosystems, reducing pesticide use in Europe and making the agriculture and the fishing sector sustainable,” said Pascal Canfin, chair of the European Commission’s environment committee.
“2020 will be a key year for biodiversity with the International Union for Conservation of Nature in June in Marseille and the COP15 in October in China.”
A UN report published last year warned that 1m species – out of approximately 8.7m – are threatened with extinction within a matter of decades. It said that these species “already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss”.
If no action is taken, the global rate of species extinction will be “at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10m years”.
Irish President Michael D Higgins spoke last year on the issue, saying our biodiversity is “being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history”.
Describing the time we have left to make a change to stop ecological collapse as “perilously short”, he added that “if we were coal miners, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries”.