Corporations warn of 'dead planet' unless we halt destruction of nature

Aerial view of deforestation in the Amazon caused by the expansion of agricultural areas. - Reserva Legal
Aerial view of deforestation in the Amazon caused by the expansion of agricultural areas (Getty) (Lucas Ninno via Getty Images)

Business leaders have called on world leaders to prevent the destruction of ecosystems around the globe.

The chief executives of Unilever, H&M and other companies warned of a “dead planet” unless governments take action, in a letter shared with The Guardian.

The open letter was shared in advance of the COP15 UN biodiversity conference, which takes place virtually from 11-15 October.

The letter said: “Nature is at a tipping point and time is against us. We must recognise nature loss for the crisis that it is.

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“We must understand that while it is critical for tackling climate change, nature represents more than simply a climate solution.

“The COP15 biodiversity conference is our last and best chance of turning the tide of biodiversity loss. The draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework lacks the ambition and specificity required to drive the urgent action needed.”

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The letter said the draft agreement does not go far enough to halt the destruction of species, despite goals to cut plastic pollution and reduce pesticide use.

Earlier this year, researchers warned that the human "footprint" - in terms of land-use changes around the globe - now affects about a third of the land on our planet.

New analysis using satellite data and statistics found that global land-use changes affect four times as much land area as previously estimated.

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Statistics suggest that land-use changes affect about 32% of Earth’s surface – in the form of deforestation, urban growth, agricultural expansion, or reforestation.

A research team from Germany's IMK-IFU and the Netherlands' Wageningen University combined various data from free sources to develop a set of new, high-resolution maps called "HILDA+" (Historic Land Dynamics Assessment +).

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The maps trace and reconstruct global land-use changes between 1960 and 2019 using high-resolution satellite data and land-use statistics.

Karina Winkler from IMK-IFU said: ‘"To face the global challenges of our time, we need to better understand the extent of land-use change and its contribution to climate change, biodiversity, and food production.

"In fact, land use also plays a critical role in achieving the Paris climate targets."

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