Nearly 200 countries signed a pledge agreeing to protect 30 percent of the planet's land and oceans by 2030, The New York Times reports. The agreement came at the close of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, known as COP15, in Montreal.
Currently, only 17 percent of land and 10 percent of oceans are considered protected. Along with land and oceans, the agreement also aims to tackle the mounting biodiversity crisis, where close to one million species are at risk of going extinct, per The Washington Post. The crisis comes from the increasing threat of climate change and the slowly rising temperatures displacing species.
Many are enthusiastic about the result like Brian O'Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, who called it, "a scale of conservation that we haven't seen ever attempted before." Others believe that the agreement doesn't go far enough. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo said it could not support the agreement because it felt that it was made in a rush without proper systems in place to achieve it, CNN explains. "There are no binding commitments making the whole mechanism look weak," commented Imma Oliveras Menor, senior researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.
The U.S. was part of negotiations for the agreement, however, is not a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity because the government blocked its membership, the Times continues. Despite this, the U.S. sent Monica Medina, the U.S. special envoy for biodiversity, as a representative to emphasize President Biden's climate agenda.
"I hope that we will have a time in the future when the Senate would ratify it," Medina remarked. "But we're contributing no matter what."