Global environmental challenges
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s environment minister, said it would be a ”Herculean task” to safeguard animal and plant life. Try my colleague Madeline Chambers’ fine story about the opening.
But what can they do at the May 19-30 meeting?
An Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002 set a goal of slowing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but U.N. studies say that climate change, rising human populations and loss of habitats are causing the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. That means that most experts say the 2010 goal is out of reach.
The conference will discuss ideas like expanding protected areas for wildlife, giving local peoples a bigger share of the cash if pharmaceutical companies develop a new drug with a plant on their land. Are these enough?