Climate change will devastate world's wildlife

Postado Março 14, 2018

The Galapagos Islands will be one of the areas devastated.

The study reveals the impact of climate change on plants, mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians in irreplaceable and wildlife-rich places, from the Amazon to the Yangtze in China and the Galapagos.

Published just ahead of WWF's Earth Hour, the world's largest environmental event, researchers examined the impact of climate change on almost 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 of the world's most diverse and naturally wildlife-rich areas.

The Amazon, the Miombo Woodlands in southern Africa and south-west Australia are some of the most affected areas, research by the University of East Anglia, James Cook University in Australia and wildlife charity WWF found.

However, if temperature rise was kept to below 2 degrees Celsius - the global target set by the landmark Paris Climate Accord in 2015 - the number of species lost could be limited to 25%.

Each area was chosen for its uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there.

If there was a 4.5°C global mean temperature rise, the climates in these areas are projected to become unsuitable for numerous plants and animals that now live there meaning up to 90% of amphibians, 86% of birds and 80% of mammals could potentially become locally extinct in the Miombo Woodlands, Southern Africa.

Meanwhile, the Amazon could lose 69% of its plant species and in south-west Australia 89% of amphibians could become locally extinct and 60% of all species are at risk of localised extinction in Madagascar.

Increased average temperatures and more erratic rainfall could have devastating effects on wildlife.

Those changes could put pressure on African elephants, which drink large amounts of water, and tigers in Asia which could lose 96% of breeding grounds to rising seas.

Most plants, amphibians and reptiles, such as orchids, frogs and lizards can not move quickly enough to keep up with these climatic changes.

Nature-rich areas such as the Amazon rainforest face losing half of all plant and animal species if greenhouse gas levels go unchecked, wildlife experts have warned.

"Around the world, handsome iconic animals like Amur tigers or Javan rhinos are at risk of disappearing, as well as tens of thousands plants and smaller creatures that are the foundation of all life on earth".

Even if goals to limit global warning are met, about a quarter of species could still become extinct, scientists have warned.

WWF Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that its forthcoming climate change bill ends Scotland's contribution to climate change within a generation.

'We can already observe changes and impacts, and projections show they will continue.