France, China urge to halt biodiversity loss

AFP . Paris | Update:

French president Emmanuel Macron talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping as Brigitte Macron and Peng Liyuan look on, at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris, France, 26 March 2019. Photo: ReutersFrench president Emmanuel Macron and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Tuesday issued an unprecedented call for a "global push" to halt biodiversity loss, which threatens species and habitats across the planet.

In a joint statement following trade talks between EU leaders and the Chinese president in Paris, France and China promised to work together "against environmental crimes, especially poaching and trafficking of species threatened with extinction".

The statement contained a series of environmental pledges alongside security and economic declarations, including unspecified commitments to support actions to reduce plastic pollution and protect marine ecosystems in Antarctica.

France and China also pledged to implement "all dimensions" of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

"We will act together for a global push against the erosion of biodiversity," the statement said.

In total, 11 of its 37 declarations were dedicated to climate and the environment.

Scientists warn that the number of species of plants and animals on Earth is declining 100 to 1,000 times faster than only a few centuries ago, meaning the planet has entered a "mass extinction event" -- only the sixth in the last half-billion years.

The United Nations says more than a third of all wild habitat has already been converted for agricultural use, and the world loses more than 18.7 million acres of forests each year.

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