GRIM STUDY: One Million Species Face Extinction

NBC News reports:

A sweeping report assessing the state of the natural world found that humans are having an “unprecedented” and devastating effect on global biodiversity, with about 1 million animal and plant species now threatened with extinction.

A summary of the report’s findings was released Monday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which was established in 2012 by the United Nations Environment Programme and includes representatives from 132 countries.

Nature reports:

About 75% of the planet’s land and 66% of its ocean areas have been “significantly altered” by people, driven in large part by the production of food, according to the IPBES report, which will be released in full later this year. Crop and livestock operations currently co-opt more than 33% of Earth’s land surface and 75% of its freshwater resources.

Agricultural activities are also some of the largest contributors to human emissions of greenhouse gases. They account for roughly 25% of total emissions due to the use of fertilizers and the conversion of areas such as tropical forests to grow crops or raise livestock such as cattle.

Agricultural threats to ecosystems will only increase as the world’s population continues to grow, according to the IPBES analysis.