National Geographic Chief Scientist: ‘Extinction Crisis Unavoidable Unless We Protect Half of Earth by 2050’: Jonathan Baillie, Together with Ya-Ping Zhang, Urges World Governments to Scale Up Global Targets to Save Natural Habitats; Supported by Conservation Luminaries E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy

With the planet facing an exploding population and unprecedented levels of biodiversity loss, National Geographic Society Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist Dr. Jonathan Baillie and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Dr. Ya-Ping Zhang urged the world’s governments to dramatically scale up global conservation targets. They detailed their opinions in an editorial published in the latest issue of Science.

“Current levels of protection do not even come close to the required levels,” wrote Baillie and Zhang, who encouraged governments to set minimum targets to protect 30 percent of the Earth’s oceans and lands by 2030, and 50 percent by 2050, with a particular focus on areas of high biodiversity. “This will be extremely challenging, but it is possible, and anything less will likely result in a major extinction crisis and jeopardize the health and well-being of future generations.”

The targets are significantly higher than the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set at the 2010 Nagoya Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, where governments agreed to protect 10 percent of oceans and 17 percent of land by 2020.

 

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