Tag Archives: extinction

Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

“Their ‘solutions’ are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment,” said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Nearly half of the endangered red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas, where the loss of bamboo and nesting trees is impacting the population. Photo: Mathias Appel/flickr/CC

With the next United Nations Biodiversity Conference set to kick off in Canada this week, a report out Monday details how corporate interests have attempted to influence efforts to protect the variety of life on Earth amid rampant species loss.

After a long-delayed and mostly virtual meeting in Kunming, China last year to work on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), nearly 20,000 delegates are headed to Montreal for the second part of COP15, which will bring together countries party to a multilateral treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Continue reading

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Climate Crisis Pushing Up to 1 in 6 US Tree Species Toward Extinction: Study

“Understanding the current state of trees within the U.S. is imperative to protecting those species, their habitats, and the countless communities they support.”

By Julia Conley   Published 8-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Black ash trees are among the tree species identified in a new study showing that up to one in six tree species are being pushed toward extinction. Photo: Eli Sagor/flickr/CC

New research published Tuesday reveals both how chronically under-studied tree populations are in the U.S. and how the lack of resources devoted to trees has pushed as much as 16% of all tree species toward the threat of extinction.

After five years of study, a coalition of scientists from Botanic Gardens Conservation International, NatureServe, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and other groups revealed that as many as one in six U.S. tree species are in danger of becoming extinct due largely to disease and invasive insects—both of which have been quietly made more devastating to trees in recent years by the climate crisis. Continue reading

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90% of Marine Species Face Extinction Under Emissions Status Quo: Study

While the research predicts “a potentially bleak future for many marine species,” the authors say it “also measures how much our oceans and the life within them stand to benefit from both climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Various fish including bigscale soldierfish / ‘ū’ū (Myripristis berndti), Moorish idols / kihikihi (Zanclus cornutus), and a masked angelfish (Genicanthus personatus) swim in a small outcropping of coral on a reef in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Photo: Andrew Gray for NOAA/flickr/CC

A new study details the disastrous consequences that would result for marine life across the world’s oceans if current levels of fossil fuel emissions are maintained, with up to 90% of ocean species facing extinction.

Daniel Boyce, a research scientist at Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia, Canada, led the study examining 35,000 species of marine flora and fauna as well as bacteria and protozoans, devising a new analytical tool called the Climate Risk Index for Biodiversity (CRIB). Continue reading

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What is COP26? Here’s how global climate negotiations work and what’s expected from the Glasgow summit

U.N. climate summits bring together representatives of almost every country.
UNFCCC

Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It’s a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it’s how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.

I worked for the United Nations for several years as a law and policy adviser and have been involved in international negotiations. Here’s what’s happening behind closed doors and why people are concerned that COP26 might not meet its goals. Continue reading

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‘Embarrassing’: US Absent as World Joins Together to Protect Biodiversity

“It reinforces the notion that the U.S. is a fair-weather partner when it comes to environmental conservation, including issues of climate change,” said one critic.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-15-2021

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS

As the United Nations Biodiversity Conference wrapped up Friday, critics are once again pointing to the glaring absence of the United States from negotiations to strengthen an international treaty to restore and protect the variety of life on Earth that has been ratified by every country except the U.S.

The U.S. did send a team to this week’s meeting, which was hosted by China and attended in-person and virtually because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—a crisis that has highlighted the need to reform humanity’s relationship with nature. Continue reading

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Record-Breaking Disasters Across World Have Root Cause in Common: Human Activity

“The solutions we conceive of as a global society,” a new report states, must “allow for interconnected ways of solving multiple problems at once.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-8-2021

Amazon deforestation. Phpto: Oregon State University/flickr/CC

A slew of recent record-breaking disasters that took place in faraway places across the world shouldn’t be seen in isolation but as interconnected events for which human activity is a major root cause, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday.

The study (pdf), released by the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, took a “deep dive” into 10 extreme events that occurred in 2020 and 2021 that “were not only disastrous for people and the environment but were also the symptoms of underlying processes ingrained in our society.” Continue reading

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‘Red List of Threatened Species’: A Grim Tally of Those Facing Extinction

“It’s hard to watch the rise of nationalism in the face of a global threat that requires global cooperation, global action”

By Common Dreams.  Published 9-4-2021

Protesters demonstrate to demand action against the climate emergency on the sidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) congress. Photo: Martin Pigeon/Twitter

Of the 138,374 species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for its survival watchlist more than 38,000 are now at risk of extinction, as the destructive impact of human activity on our planet deepens.

An update of the ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ was released Saturday morning. Continue reading

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Leaving Parts of Trump’s Pro-Polluter Legacy Intact, Biden Gets C- on Environmental Report Card

Biden’s “limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” said the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2021

Photo: Eric Haynes/CC

Expressing alarm over President Joe Biden’s support for a number of pipeline projects and his failure to reverse the vast majority of environmental regulatory rollbacks introduced by his predecessor, the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund on Tuesday gave the president a grade of C-minus and said he “needs improvement” on its Environmental Report Card.

Six months into his presidency, Biden has fully met five out of 25 “concrete and achievable environmental promises” he made on the campaign trail, and has only reversed three of former President Donald Trump’s rollbacks.

CBD Action Fund noted in the report card (pdf) that the president signed an “unprecedented” 17 executive orders on his first day in office in January, including three that fulfilled “Day One” promises he had made: “formally beginning the reentry process to the Paris climate agreement, permanently rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, and directing all federal agencies to elevate addressing environmental justice to protect frontline communities.”

The group emphasized, however, that during Biden’s first six months in office the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented drought” and “record-shattering heatwaves” which climate scientists have long warned about.

“Thus, even as his administration is evaluated at the six-month mark, its limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” the report card reads.

“President Biden got off to a strong start right when he took office, but his environmental agenda appears to be stalling out,” said Brett Hartl, chief political strategist at the CBD Action Fund. “He has to light a fire under his Cabinet and the federal agencies to complete his campaign promises without foot-dragging, because the climate and extinction crises are getting more urgent every day.”

Overall, the group credited Biden with fulfilling five campaign promises so far, including holding a global climate summit in his first 100 days in office and reinstating federal flood-protection standards that assess climate change risks.

The administration has taken steps to fulfill 13 other campaign pledges, including:
  • Ending financing for overseas coal projects;
  • Installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Requiring that disadvantaged communities receive 40% of benefits from climate spending.

“For other campaign promises, the Biden administration has yet to initiate efforts to achieve them,” the report card says. “For example, Biden spoke numerous times during the campaign about addressing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. He proposed a $20 billion conservation fund to address deforestation. However, this initiative was not part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, and it is unclear what other steps the administration will take to address deforestation.”

CBD Action Fund identified just three Trump-era environmental rollbacks that Biden has reversed, including the so-called “secret science” rule restricting data the EPA can use to enact regulations; eliminating the use of the “social cost of carbon” in environmental reviews; and curtailing categories of industrial polluters subjected to greenhouse gas regulations.

Biden was also credited with taking steps to restore protections to the Tongass National Forest and the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, and with announcing recently that officials will “begin the process of undoing additional Trump-era rollbacks,” the report reads.

“The timeline and scope of these efforts is unclear,” said the CBD Action Fund. “For example, the Department of the Interior announced in June that it would ‘revisit’ the Trump-era rollback of the regulations guiding consultations under the Endangered Species Act.”

“But the department signaled that it would only reverse one of over 20 changes made by the previous administration to the regulations—specifically restoring the earlier definition of ‘indirect effects’—and stated that this effort would not even begin until December 2021 at the earliest,” the group continued.

In addition to more than two dozen Trump-era rollbacks the administration has taken no action to reverse, the group expressed indignation at Biden’s decision to support some of Trump’s attacks on the environment.

The president has declined to block the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota or shut down operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as approving nearly 2,500 new drilling permits on public lands and waters—”roughly the same amount that the Trump administration approved during its first entire year in office,” the report card reads.

“Biden’s bold vision during the campaign won’t be met if his administration leaves large chunks of Trump’s pro-polluter legacy intact,” said Hartl.

Biden has also supported Trump’s weakened protections from pesticides for endangered species, an increased limit for Atrazine pollution in waterways, and the expanded use of antibiotics on citrus crops.

“If President Biden does not act boldly, right now, the impacts of climate change will be severe enough to make large swaths of our planet nearly uninhabitable,” CBD Action Fund said.

After a promising start, the group added, “complacency and inertia could stymy further progress on his climate and environmental goals. Without a continued and sustained effort in the next 12 to 18 months, any potential environmental legacy could easily be erased.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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New Bill Would Require Biden to Declare Wildlife Extinction Crisis a National Emergency

“Declaring the extinction crisis to be a national emergency would unlock key presidential powers that will halt the unraveling of the planet’s life-support systems.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2021

A black footed ferret at the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center. Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie/flickr/CC

Democratic members of Congress introduced legislation Friday that would require President Joe Biden to declare the wildlife extinction crisis a “national emergency,” a move advocates say would allow the president to use specific executive powers to stem the destruction of habitats and protect species imperiled by human activity.

Led by Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), the Extinction Crisis Emergency Act would “require all federal agencies to prioritize building back healthy wildlife populations, protect critical habitat, and integrate climate change concerns into the recovery of endangered species.” Continue reading

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MONARCH Act Introduced to Ensure ‘Beloved Pollinator’ Is Around for Future Generations

“In only a few decades, a migration of millions has been reduced to less than two thousand butterflies.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-17-2021

Butterflies seen at Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove on November 30, 2015. (Photo: Sandy/Chuck Harris/CC BY-NC 2.0)

A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced two bills on Wednesday to boost conservation of the western monarch butterfly to save the population from total collapse.

The legislation comes at a critical moment for the iconic species. The Xerces Society said in January after its latest annual western monarch count that 1,914 monarch butterflies were recorded overwintering on the California coast—a figure the conservation group said reflected a staggering 99.9% drop from numbers in the 1980s and was an indiction the species was heading toward extinction. Continue reading

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