British broadcaster David Attenborough yesterday led a call from conservation groups for the world to invest $500 billion a year to halt the destruction of nature, warning that the future of the planet was in "grave jeopardy".
Attenborough, whose new film "A Life on Our Planet" documents the dangers posed by climate change and the extinction of species, issued the call as the United Nations convened a one-day summit aimed at galvanising action to protect wildlife.
"Our natural world is under greater pressure now than at any time in human history, and the future of the entire planet – on which every single one of us depends – is in grave jeopardy," Attenborough, 94, said in a statement.
"We still have an opportunity to reverse catastrophic biodiversity loss, but time is running out."
Opening the summit in New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that a million species were at risk of extinction and that climate change and the loss of biodiversity were "destroying Earth's web of life".
The world spends an estimated $80-90 billion on conservation each year, but studies show that hundreds of billions of dollars may be needed to save ecosystems from collapse. Britain, Canada and others joined the European Union on Monday in pledging to protect 30% of their land and seas by 2030.