Members of WWF protest during COP15, the two-week UN Biodiversity summit, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada December 7, 2022. (CHRISTINNE MUSCHI / REUTERS)
MONTREAL — Climate campaigners waved placards and chanted pro-nature slogans on Wednesday as a UN summit kicks off in Montreal, bringing together global negotiators for a "once-in-a-decade opportunity" to protect nature.
Negotiators hope the two-week event delivers an agreement that ensures there is more "nature" — animals, plants, and healthy ecosystems — in 2030 than what exists now.
More than 1 million species, especially insects, are now threatened with extinction, vanishing at a rate not seen in 10 million years
But disagreements over targets and the sheer amount of material to go through over the next two weeks at COP15 remain concerns, said Gavin Edwards, director of World Wildlife Fund International.
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"There are going to be some really late nights here to be able to get the agreement we want," Edwards said on the sidelines of the event, as campaigners chanted slogans.
"But we're talking about the future of life on Earth here."
An agreement could lead to protections of almost a third of the world's land and oceans by 2030, more sustainable agricultural systems, forestry and fisheries, he said.
"Governments have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to agree that here."
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Earlier in the day Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced up to C$800 million ($586 million) over seven years on up to four indigenous-led conservation efforts, helping the country preserve 30% of its land by 2030.
More than 1 million species, especially insects, are now threatened with extinction, vanishing at a rate not seen in 10 million years. As much as 40% of Earth's land surfaces are considered degraded, according to a 2022 UN Global Land Outlook assessment.