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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

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.