Scientists, worried about mass extinction, call for international biodiversity panel

The planet faces a “major biodiversity crisis” that could lead to mass extinction of species, warn 19 of the world’s leading biodiversity specialists in Nature. Stating that “biodiversity is still consistently undervalued and given inadequate weight in both private and public decisions,” the specialists urge the creation of an Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity to offer advice on government policies. Human-caused habitat destruction and climate change are causing species to die out 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate; nearly a quarter of mammals, a third of amphibians, and 12 percent of birds are in danger of extinction, and climate change alone could push a further 15 to 37 percent of species to near-extinction in the next 50 years. “Because biodiversity loss is essentially irreversible, it poses serious threats to sustainable development and the quality of life of future generations,” the specialists say. And that’s a pretty good reason to stop it.