Historic International Deal to Protect Nature, Biodiversity

Nearly 200 nations agreed on Saturday to a sweeping plan to stem the loss of species by setting new 2020 targets to ensure greater protection of nature and enshrine the benefits it gives mankind.

This is the good-news intro to a recent piece on Reuters. Environment ministers from all countries of the world except the US and Andorra, meeting in Nagoya, Japan for the 2010 Conference of Biodiversity last week, ended up making some good progress on an issue we are really failing on, stopping the world’s 6th mass extinction.

As Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said:

The time for talking is over. It is time for providing answers, solutions, actions. We are all tired of endless meetings which just postpone the solutions for the problems. We are also tired of decisions which are dissociated from real life. While that happens, over the past few years, not only has there been an absence of relevant signs of reduction of biodiversity loss but also the available indicators portray a growing deterioration of global biodiversity. Reverting this process, which in essence is a result of human activity, requires an unprecedented effort, with strong and determined responses from all global societies. Essentially, political will is required to change the patterns of the way different segments of society appropriate biodiversity resources for themselves.

Apparently, others realized the same thing or were inspired by representatives like Teixeira, as the nearly 200 countries at the meeting agreed on new goals and actions geared at addressing the worst extinction rate since dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.

One key thing the countries are going to do is put a price on and consider the value of natural services and nature itself more in government decisions, which are worth trillions of dollars according to a recent report.

We have undervalued nature for too long, but perhaps we are on the cusp of change.

“The protocol is really, really a victory,” Teixeira told reporters.

“This isn’t a boring protocol. It will regulate billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry,” said Tove Ryding, policy adviser for biodiversity and climate change for Greenpeace.

“We finally have something that is going to give great results for the environment, for the poor people,” Karl Falkenberg, head of the European Commission’s environment department, said.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of more cooperative international work.

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Photo Credit: European Parliament via flickr (CC license)

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is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

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