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Wish to remain insurable? Better heed to the biodiversity report!

May 8, 2019

“As many as 1 million different species, out of a total estimated 8 million plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction, more than at any previous time, because of changes brought about in the natural environments by human activities”: Reports Indian Express – quoting Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). A landmark report say scientists, cites Reuters in what it dubs “humankind’s relentless pursuit of economic growth”.

What could be the most inappropriate and graphic demonstration of such greed than the US Secretary of State’s recent remarks in Finland: “The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance – it houses 13% of world’s undiscovered oil. 30% of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore.”

A long list of our horrendous misdeeds as a specie:

  • 40%: amphibian species threatened with extinction
  • 33%:  marine life threatened with extinction
  • 680: vertebrate species driven to extinction since the 16th century
  • 50%: agricultural expansion that occurred at the expense of forests
  • 68%: global forest area today compared with pre-industrial level
  • 7%: reduction in intact forests from 2000-13
  • 100%: growth of urban areas since 1992
  • 105%: increase in human population (3.7 to 7.6 billion) since 1970
  • 2500: conflicts over fossil fuels, water, food and land currently occurring worldwide
  • +/- 10%: tentative estimate of proportion of insect species threatened with extinction.
  • 3.5%: domesticated breed of birds extinct by 2016
  • 70%: increase since 1970 in numbers of invasive alien species across 21 countries with detailed records
  • 47%: proportion of terrestrial flightless mammals – besides 23% threatened birds – distribution impacted by climate crisis
  • 6: species of ungulate likely to be extinct or surviving only in captivity without conservation measures
  • 3-10%: projected decrease in ocean net primary production due to climate crisis alone by the end of the century
  • 3-25%: projected decrease in fish biomass by end of century in low and high warming scenarios, respectively
  • +/- 50%: live coral cover of reefs lost since 1870s
  • 100-300: Million people in coastal areas at increased risk due to loss of coastal habitat protection
  • 107: highly threatened birds, mammals and reptiles estimated to have benefitted from the eradication of invasive mammals on island
  • 40%: proportion of global population lacking access to clean and safe drinking water
  • 300-400 mn tons: industrial wastes dumped annually into the world’s waters
  • 1 degree C: average global temperature difference in 2017 compared to pre-industrial levels
  • > 3 mm: annual average global sea level rise over the past two decades
  • 5%: estimated fraction of species at risk of extinction from 2% warming alone, rising to 16% at 4.3% warming
  • Plastic pollution had increased 10 times since 1980
  • Large dams with a height of 15m or more had reached more than 50,000

Snubbing it at its own peril:

A landmark report it might be but much of the media preferred to give it a skip and justifiably provoking this reaction from Greta Thunberg (, our custodian for the planet’s future:

Where are the breaking news?

The extra news broadcasts?

The front pages?

Where are the emergency meetings?

The crisis summits?

What could be more important?

We are failing but we have not yet failed.

We can still fix this.

But not if we continue like today.

Not a chance…

I will conclude this with the tweet from Amitav Ghosh (http://amitav ghosh): “Humanity is probably going out in a globe-spanning murder-suicide.” Will there be anything remaining to be insured anymore?!

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