Saturday, May 31, 2008

UN Biodiversity Conference -- Protecting Ecosystems

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the 12-day conference at Bonn (with 6,000 delegates from 191 countries) was set to be a "real success".

Hailed decisions could lead to the establishment of deep-sea nature preserves and a preliminary framework for establishing standards on biofuels and also to more funding for forest protection, the creation of new nature preserves, and a moratorium on fertilizing the ocean with chemicals to combat climate change.

Earlier in the week German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged 500 million euros (785 million dollars) before 2013, and an equal amount annually thereafter, but other major economies have yet to follow suit.

Scientists say that species are becoming extinct at a dizzying rate -- between 100 and 1,000 times the natural pace of extinction. One in four mammals, one bird in eight, one third of all amphibians and 70 percent of plants are under threat. The lost of the benefits of biodiversity were put at 3.1 trillion dollars a year, or six percent of the planet's gross national product. AFP.GOOGLE

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