Britain, Canada, EU throw weight behind 2030 biodiversity protection goal

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BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and Canada on Monday joined the European Union in pledging to protect 30% of their land and seas by 2030 to stem “catastrophic” biodiversity loss and help galvanise support for broader agreement on the target ahead of a U.N. summit.

FILE PHOTO: A bald eagle is pictured perched in a tree in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada, August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

With the twin crises of climate change and wildlife loss accelerating, leaders are trying to build momentum ahead of the meeting in Kunming, China, in May, where nearly 200 countries will negotiate a new agreement on protecting nature.

“We must act now – right now. We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate. Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“Extinction is forever – so our action must be immediate.”

Without action, 30% to 50% of all species could be lost by 2050, threatening economic and social prosperity, a report by The Nature Conservancy charity this month said. For example, losing bees, butterflies and other pollinators could cause a drop in annual agricultural output worth $217 billion.

Scientists have said a minimum of 30% of the planet must be safeguarded, through protected areas and conservation. A draft of the Kunming agreement includes this pledge.

While Monday’s pledges did not detail specific actions nor funding plans, protected areas are usually managed to ensure the long-term conservation of nature. This can mean curbing or banning commercial or extraction activities, ensuring unspoiled natural areas remain unspoiled, or restoring and maintaining ecosystems such as forests and wetlands.

“We have both the responsibility and the opportunity. We have the second largest land mass,


James Graham: England & Great Britain prop finishes international career

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St Helens prop forward James Graham has confirmed his international retirement and will not be part of England’s World Cup campaign in 2021.

Graham, 35, has a combined 53 caps for Great Britain and England, passing 50 games on last autumn’s Lions tour.

He played in the 2017 World Cup final defeat by Australia and skippered England to a Test series win over New Zealand in 2018.

“I will always be a passionate supporter of England,” Graham said.

Although he has decided to call time on his representative career, Graham is yet to confirm whether he will play on beyond this season at club level, having rejoined Saints mid-season from St George Illawarra.

The former Canterbury Bulldogs front-rower has been one of the most influential players in his position since making his club debut in 2003.

He played 186 games in the elite NRL, winning prop of the year in 2014, and internationally was a key figure in the chevron of GB or the white shirt of England.

His final internationals for England, after this autumn’s tour by Australia was cancelled, came in the series against New Zealand in which he was captain and lifted the Albert Baskerville Shield.

“Without doubt the highlight is the series-clinching victory over the Kiwis at Anfield two years ago. I can’t speak highly enough of that group of men,” he said.

“After the World Cup in 2017 we had become so close, but we needed to cap it off with some silverware. We managed to do it in one of the best games of rugby league played in this country in my opinion.

“On a personal level with the emotions of playing in my home city and having friends and family in the stadium to watch, that game will always be so special to