The headlines:

UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ UN Sustainable Development Goals. May 6, 2019

Excerpt: Current global response insufficient; ‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature; Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good

One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result   Darryl Fears/Washington Post. May 6, 2019

Excerpt: Nations that signed off on the study’s findings acknowledged that opposition from rich people invested in the status quo is expected.

Everything Is Fucked, Major New Extinction Report Finds Brian Kahn/Earther. May 6, 2019 

Excerpt: “We cannot tackle nature deterioration [separately] from climate change and our social goals,” Eduardo Brondizio, an anthropologist…. “They are interconnected.”

There are three parts to this story:

  1. The real danger of mass extinctions.

  2. The need "for “transformative changes” and overcoming opposition from vested interests and the rich.

  3. The essential connection between the extinctions and climate change.

That the biosphere is in deep trouble is old news. This from a post I wrote in 2016:

One out of five plant species are threatened with extinction. Almost a quarter of mammal species are endangered.  The situation is just as bad or worse for reptiles (21% endangered), amphibians (30%), fish (21%), insects (22%) and mollusks (41%).  Birds are doing slightly better (“just” 12% endangered).

However, the main culprit here is habitat loss, not climate change. And the conversion of forested land for agriculture is the principal driver of habitat loss – accounting for a whopping 80% of deforestation worldwide. Sure, climate change will exacerbate the situation, but much of the damage done by climate change can be mitigated via the sustainable intensification of agriculture and well-funded habitat management.

There is absolutely no need to evoke a class war or require a belief in the catastrophic effects of human-caused climate change to find allies in the effort to save endangered species. Doing so only makes it less likely to succeed.

Next: Habitat Management - Let Me Count The Ways

After That: Sustainable Agriculture