Global warming could threaten half of species in 33 key areas: Report

2018-03-14 16:08
(iStock)

(iStock) (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris – Global warming could place 25-50% of species in the Amazon, Madagascar and other biodiverse areas at risk of localised extinction within decades, a report said on Wednesday.

The lower projection is based on a mercury rise of 2°C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels – the warming ceiling the world's nations agreed on in 2015.

The highest is for out-of-control warming of 4.5°C.

"Global biodiversity will suffer terribly over the next century unless we do everything we can," said conservation group WWF, which commissioned the analysis published in science journal Climatic Change.

"We must keep average global temperatures down to the absolute minimum."

The report focused on 33 so-called "Priority Places" which host some of the world's richest and most unusual terrestrial species, including iconic, endangered, or endemic plants and animals.

They include southern Chile, the eastern Himalayas, South Africa's unique Fynbos ecoregion, Borneo, Sumatra, the Namibian desert, West Africa, southwest Australia, coastal east Africa, and southern Africa's Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs.

The team looked at the impact of climate change on nearly 80 000 terrestrial plant, mammal, bird, amphibian, and reptile species.

At warming of 4.5°C, based on a "business-as-usual" scenario of no emissions cuts, the Amazon could risk the local extinction of 69% of its plant species.

The Miombo Woodlands risks losing 90% of its amphibians, 86% of birds, and 80% of mammals, according to the report.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries made voluntary pledges to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

'New normal'

But even if those pledges are met, scientists predict warming over 3°C, a recipe for disastrous climate change-triggered sea level rises, superstorms, floods, and droughts.

Warming of 3.2°C would place about 37% of species in Priority Places at risk of local extinction, said a WWF statement.

"Even with the emissions cuts pledged under the Paris Agreement, temperatures that were extreme in the past are set to be the new normal in all Priority Places," it added – in some as early as 2030.

Limiting warming to 2°C would enable many species to continue inhabiting the areas they currently occupy, according to the report.

And if animals can move freely – not constrained by roads, fences, or human settlements – the proportion of species at extinction risk at warming of 2°C drops from 25-20%.

The report comes ahead of a major meeting of the IPBES inter-governmental panel in Medellin, Colombia, where scientists and governments will release five assessments of the state of biodiversity.

Extinction is not simply about the disappearance of species, said the WWF, "but about profound changes to ecosystems that provide vital services to hundreds of millions of people".

Job- and revenue-generating tourism would suffer greatly if species disappear, and as-yet-undiscovered medicines from plants forever lost.

"Put simply, we have to stop burning fossil fuels," said the WWF.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    global warming

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.