Unchecked consumption has decimated global wildlife, causing a mass extinction and exhausting Earth's ability to meet the growing appetite of humanity, warned the WWF on Tuesday.
60 percent of all animals had a backbone from 1970 to 2014 – Birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals were eradicated by human activities based on an ongoing study of more than 4,000 species, according to WWF's "Living Planet" report. The situation is really bad and it is getting worse and worse, "said Marco Lambertini, the general director of WWF International, to AFP.
" The only good news is that there are more than 16,700 populations scattered all over the world is that we know exactly what happens.
For the freshwater fauna, the demographic decline In the 44 years under surveillance, it was an unbelievable 80 percent, but by region, Latin America was hardest hit, with nearly 90 percent of the wildlife lost during the same period.
Another record confirmed the depth of an expanding mass extinction, only the sixth in the last half-billion.
Depending on which of the Earth's life forms are contained, the current rate of species loss is 100 to 1000 times higher than a few hundred years ago Years ago, when humans began to change the chemistry of the earth and put other creatures out of existence.
Measured by weight or biomass, wildlife now accounts for only four percent of the world's mammals, humans (36 percent) and Livestock (60 percent) will do the rest.
– The Great Acceleration –
Ten thousand years ago The ratio was likely h conversely.
"The statistics are scary," said Piero Visconti, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and one of 59 co-authors of the 80-page report.
"In contrast, extinction is irreversible."
It may be too late for corals.
Tailwind currents have already wiped out half of the world's shallow reefs, with a quarter of them carrying marine life.
Even if it manages to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – missionary ineptitude, scientists say – coral mortality is likely to be 70 to 90 percent.
A 2C world would be a death sentence, a big UN report that was finalized last month.
Half a century of conservation work has achieved spectacular results, with significant recoveries among tigers, manatees, grizzly bears, bluefin tuna and bald eagles. "If we had not made those efforts, the situation would have been a lot worse," said Lambertini.
But the onslaught of hunting, shrinking habitat, pollution, illegal trade and climate change – all caused by humans – has it too much to overcome, he admitted.
Scientists call it the "big acceleration," he said in a telephone interview.
"It's the exponential growth over the past 50 years in the use of energy, water, wood, fish, food, fertilizers, pesticides, minerals, plastics – everything."
– & # 39; New Deal & # 39; for Nature –
The pace of population growth – long taboo in the development and conservation circles – also increased around 1950, the date that scientists have chosen as the "gold spike" or starting point for a new geological period, the Anthropocene or "Age of man" is called.
In search of answers, environmentalists turn to climate change to find inspiration.
"We Need a New Global Deal for Nature," Lambertini said, citing two key elements of the 1955 Paris Climate Change Agreement
"One finding was that climate change is dangerous to the economy and society, not just for polar bears, "he said.
Similarly, he threatened the long-taken for granted ecosystem services – drinka dreary water, breathable air, heat-absorbing oceans, forests that absorb CO2, productive soil – are worth several trillions of dollars each year.
"A healthy, sustainable future for all is possible only on a planet where nature thrives and forests, oceans and rivers teem with biodiversity and life," said Lambertini.
The Paris Agreement, which was negotiated under the UN Climate Change Convention, also set a clear goal: global warming must be "far under".
The parallel United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), on the other hand, has many goals that are not only too weak by 2020 but, with one possible exception, are unlikely to occur, Lambertini said.
"The CBD fails," he told AFP. But an upcoming meeting of the 195-nation body could be the beginning of a "revolution" that will make the Convention 2020 a "new agreement for nature".
60 percent of the animals with a backbone – fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals were eradicated by human activities from 1970 to 2014, a WWF study shows
An aerial photo of deforestation in the western Amazon region of Brazil, part of Worldwide Shrinking Habitat  WWF International Director-General Marco Lambertini says it's time for a new global agreement for nature