U.N. Tries to Curb Extinctions

Species haven’t died off this fast since the dinosaurs were wiped off the face earth. With species of fauna and flora currently disappearing at a rate 100 to 1,000 greater than the historical averages, environment ministers from 190 countries met in Japan to set out new measures to preserve biodiversity. The objective of the Nagoya Protocol, as it is known, is to reduce the extinction rate by half between now and 2020. Over that period, the amount of protected land will grow to 17 percent from about 12.5 percent, while 10 percent of oceans will be protected, growing from less than one percent. “We would have liked to see more ambitious targets in protected area goals and the financing,” said a representative from The Nature Conservancy. “But the fact that they were able to reach an agreement is a big deal.” The delegates also set up a profit-sharing scheme for rich and poor nations to benefit from new pharmaceutical products derived from genetic material.