Biodiversity targets, better ageing and ice still melting

The need to set more ambitious targets for biodiversity, why people are ageing better and a new climate change warning. Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities.

New targets needed on biodiversity

Global targets for protecting biodiversity have not been met, and the world needs to make greater strides in conserving nature and ecosystems, or risk further damage warns a new report from the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. It said that while some countries had made significant progress, new targets are needed in terms of how we use land and forests and tackle climate change.

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Older people are behaving younger

People are ageing better, with the physical and cognitive functions of older people having improved significantly over the past 30 years, researchers in Finland have found. Muscle strength, walking speed, reaction speed, reasoning and memory were markedly better in people aged 75 to 80 than in those the same age who took part in the same study in the 1990s. The researchers put the improvement down to higher levels of physical activity and longer education, as well as better nutrition and improved working life.

Read more: 10 ways the longevity economy is changing the way we live now

Ice sheet still melting despite Paris agreement

The melting Antarctic ice sheet will cause sea levels to rise around two and a half metres even if the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement are met, The Guardian reports. While the change in water levels will take place over a long time – beyond the end of this century – it is likely to be irreversible even if global temperatures do reduce, according to new research.

In the Arctic however, scientists are preparing to use unconventional methods to protect ice sheets, the BBC reports. One non-profit organisation has proposed scattering a thin layer of glass powder over the ice, to reflect the Sun’s rays – which could also allow the ice sheet to rebuild layers. The technique has been tested on Canadian and American lakes, with encouraging results.

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