China takes centre stage in global biodiversity push

Smriti Mallapty in Nature:

The world’s species and natural ecosystems are in crisis. When nearly 200 countries gather in ten days’ time to thrash out a major plan to stem the precipitous decline, China is expected to take a prominent role. The high-stakes negotiations will set the stage for a major biodiversity summit in October, which the country will also host — marking the first time the nation will lead global talks on the environment. That role as host, together with the China’s growing global influence — including its vast Belt and Road Initiative to build international infrastructure — has thrown a spotlight on its own impact on, and efforts to preserve, biodiversity. “We are familiar with China being part of the problem of the global environmental emergency. For the sake of nature and the people living on this planet, there is a need to turn China into part of the solution,” says Li Shuo, a policy adviser at Greenpeace China in Beijing.

…Ecosystems are vanishing rapidly, and close to one million plant and animal species face extinction. If this trend continues, it could have devastating consequences for people and food production, says van Havre. Countries have failed to meet the current goals partly because the targets were vague and difficult to implement, and progress hard to track, he says.

More here.