Lots of meaty stories leading up to Thursday’s World Environment Day sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme:

ENS news service - Heads of state and 87 ministers from around the world have reinforced their commitment to “substantially reduce” the global loss of biodiversity within two years. The European Commission is committed to stopping the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010. Gathered at the ministerial segment of the World Biodiversity Summit in Bonn convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, participants heard expressions of alarm at the unprecedented loss of species to human encroachment and also heard pledges to reverse this decline. Plant and animal species are becoming extinct at a rate 100 times the natural rate of extinction due to human activities that include pollution, habitat loss, increased consumption and climate change.

The Independent – Mass extinctions of plants and animals could have a severe impact on the living standards of the poorest people on the planet and cost up to £40bn a year, the first major report into the economic impact of biodiversity loss has found. Scientists say biodiversity is facing its greatest threat in millions of years, with three species dying out every hour. Now, the economic cost of such destruction has been assessed.

redOrbit - About 40 percent of the global economy is based on biological products and processes, according to the United Nations Environment Program. People in poorer regions, especially those in areas of low agricultural productivity, rely on genetic diversity of the environment. “However, human activities the world over are causing the progressive loss of species of plants and animals at a rate far higher than the natural background rate of extinction,” said the UNEP.