Planet's ability to sustain life is 'being lost' - U.N.

"We can cut the proverbial forest and have a great quarterly return. We can fish the proverbial oceans empty and have a great quarterly return. But we need to think about the long term," Andersen said in an interview at the Reuters Impact conference.

She said the only way to eliminate poverty and create healthy economies was to solve the "three planetary crises" - climate change, loss of biodiversity, and pollution and waste.

"Let me leave this absolutely clear: Loss of biodiversity means loss of the planet’s ability to sustain us," she said.

"When you lose species -- and we are set to lose a million species out of the 7.8 or so that we have on the planet if we continue down the current track -- if you take out these things, the ecosystem can’t continue."

With less than a month to go to the COP26 U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Andersen said it was "completely unacceptable" how little progress had been made in more than a quarter century of global climate deliberations.

She called for the COP26 to harmonise rules for the world's carbon markets - a highly contentious issue - and set a price for carbon emissions that took their full environmental impact into account.

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