Global warming threatens half of species in 33 key areas

Global warming threatens half of species in 33 key areas

Global warming threatens half of species in 33 key areas

The Galapagos Islands will be one of the areas devastated.

About half of all plants and animals in 35 of the world's most biodiverse places are at risk of extinction due to climate change, a new report claims.

The Galápagos fur seal, albatross and mangrove finch are among the species that could disappear if greenhouse gas emissions rise unchecked, research by the University of East Anglia, James Cook University in Australia and the conservation charity WWF found.

Researchers looked at the impact of temperature rises and rainfall changes on nearly 80,000 species in 35...

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

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Some of the most severely affected areas are thought to be the Miombo Woodlands across south-central Africa, south-west Australia, and the Amazon-Guianas.

If temperatures were to rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius, animals like African elephants would likely lack sufficient water supplies and 96% of all breeding ground for tigers in India's Sundarbans region could be submerged in water.

In the Mediterranean, 30 per cent of most species would be at risk of dying out, while more than a third (36 per cent) of plants could vanish.

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.

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

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"Hotter days, longer periods of drought, and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects", said Nikhil Advani, lead specialist for climate, communities and wildlife at the World Wildlife Fund in London (WWF).

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

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.

Earth Hour takes place on Saturday, 24 March at 8.30pm when millions of people across the world will turn off electric lights to show their commitment to reducing global emissions and protecting people and wildlife from the impacts of climate change.

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