Environment Watch

Environment Watch
Environment Watch

The 2019 CITES meeting taking place in Geneva from 17 to 28 August is concerned with the extinction of species, and so is this web site. Every week this page adds articles from the press and scientific literature to our Environment Watch section – a valuable information bank on climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and some possible solutions. Please access the links provided here.

In an astonishing scientific report it is calculated that although humans account for only 0.01% of all life on earth, we have caused the extinction of 83% of mammals.

There is no longer any doubt that global heating is caused by human activity, and a recent scientific report from the US (a major source of global heating emissions, which has announced its departure from the Paris climate accords) shows that planetary heat trapping gases broke record levels last year.

Extinctions continue. Almost all giant river fish (97% since 1970) are now extinct.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, melting ice threatens to raise temperatures further in a runaway global heating scenario, because ice reflects sunlight, keeping temperatures down. While the burning of fossil fuels increases greenhouse gases, the US Secretary of State sees opportunities for increased fossil fuel extraction from the Arctic thanks to the melting of sea ice. Saner counsel comes from Norway, a previous major oil producer, which is now divesting from fossil fuels.

While CITES debates which animals to place on which appendix, wildfires continue to rage and glaciers melt. We need to conserve and protect rhinos, elephants and many rare species, but the mass extinction of insects and the hourly destruction of forests are without doubt pressing concerns on the minds of those attending the meeting.

We humans have created the problem. We must fix it.

Steve Felton
Find more news stories on these themes: