The 23 targets in the Cop15 biodiversity agreement announced in Montreal recently are insufficient to prevent further irrecoverable losses, including among the many species threatened with extinction. The deal is not legally binding, leading to concerns about the prospects for implementation. The track record of global biodiversity plans is terrible. Every one of 20 targets set at Aichi in Japan in 2010 was missed.

The new agreement was finalized despite complaints from African countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), home to one of the world’s largest rainforests, which is threatened by oil and gas exploration. The description of the U.S.’s role as “an interesting asterisk” by the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was too mild. It is shaming and alarming that the U.S. was at the talks as an “influencer” and not a participant, because the Senate has refused to ratify the U.N. convention on biological diversity.

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