John Knox, the UN Special Rapporteur [official website] on human rights and the environment, urged [statement] all governments Thursday to fulfill their existent obligations to protect the world’s biological diversity from extinction. Knox warned:
The extinction of species and the loss of microbial diversity undermines our rights to life and health by destroying potential sources for new medicines and weakening human immunity. Reduced variety, yield and security of fisheries and agriculture endangers our right to food. Nature’s weakened ability to filter, regulate and store water threatens the right of access to clean and safe water.
Knox hopes that the World Environment Day, which will be on Monday, June 5, will be “an opportunity to appreciate nature’s beauty and its importance to humanity,” and will encourage governments around the globe to protect the Earth and its biodiversity.
Knox’s statements come the same day US President Donald Trump announced [JURIST report] he intends to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, which would cast doubt to the landmark treaty that many scientists have hailed as an important step in combating climate change. The Paris Agreement was reached during the twenty-first annual conference of parties, known as COP21 [official website] and achieved the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, aiming for only a 1.5 degree temperature rise. According to many experts, climate change [JURIST backgrounder] is a result of global greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing and controversial environmental issues facing the international community today. In 2016 former President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced an agreement [text] to address climate change [JURIST report]. Both countries pledged to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of wind and solar power sources to 20 percent of each nation’s electricity production by 2030.