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An inflatable planet Earth bounces around a climate-change rally in Sydney, Australia, in March. (Don Arnold/Getty Images)

Up to a million of Earth's estimated eight million species face extinction, many of them within decades, according to a UN report on biodiversity due out Monday.

The big picture: The 1,800-page report by 400 scientists says the pace of species loss "is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years," according to a draft obtained by Agence France-Presse.

And it's not just climate change, according to the report:

  • Humans "are undermining Earth's capacity to produce fresh water, clean air and productive soil."
  • "The direct causes of Nature's degradation — in order of importance — are shrinking habitat and land-use change, hunting for food or illicit trade in body parts, climate change, pollution, and predatory or disease-carrying alien species such as rats, mosquitoes and snakes."

Be smart: This report will likely be dismissed by many as fear mongering or alarmism. And there is a lot of progress and activism now on climate, marine conservation and other issues to suggest that the future foretold here may not come to pass.

  • But if scientists from a variety of disciplines have a shared bias, it has tended to make major assessment reports too conservative rather than too dire, especially when it comes to climate change. 

You can't really separate climate change from biodiversity loss, since one is driving the other — along with deforestation, overfishing, population growth and pollution, Freedman writes.

  • But the biodiversity crisis and dawning of the Sixth Great Extinction (this one driven largely by us), have until now garnered less global attention and focus from world leaders. This report is meant to change that. 
  • This panel is meant to be the biodiversity version of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Go deeper

Biden warned Putin of specific "consequences" if Russia invades Ukraine

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."

Senate leaders sell members on debt limit deal

Sen. Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are urging their respective caucuses to back a deal that would clear a path to raising the debt ceiling.

Driving the news: The agreement, negotiated by the two leaders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), involves Congress passing a law allowing a one-time rule change so the Senate can raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, rather than the 60 typically needed to overcome the filibuster.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

CDC: 60% of U.S. is fully vaccinated

Photo: Nick Oxford/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sixty percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: This comes as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the U.S. It has been detected in 19 states, and the number is expected to increase, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Tuesday's White House COVID-19 briefing.