Global Warming Could Threaten Half Of Species In 33 Key Areas

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 14, 2018

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.

The report, a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and the WWF, found that almost 80,000 plants and animals in 35 diverse and wildlife-rich areas - including the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos islands, southwest Australia and Madagascar - could become extinct if global temperatures rise.

Researchers looked at the impact of temperature rises and rainfall changes under different climate scenarios, from a failure to curb emissions to tough action to limit rises to 2C, on nearly 80,000 species in 35 natural areas.

WWF Climate change could make Amazon "unrecognisable" as up to half of species face extinction.

"Around the world, handsome 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".

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.

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.

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

Up to 90% of amphibians, 86% of birds and 80% of mammals potentially becoming locally extinct in the Miombo Woodlands, Southern Africa.

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.

Lead researcher Professor Rachel Warren, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA, said: "Our research quantifies the benefits of limiting global warming to 2C for species in 35 of the world's most wildlife-rich areas".

'However if global warming is limited to 2C above pre-industrial levels this could be reduced to 25 per cent'.

The report did not look at the impact of limiting temperature rises to just 1.5C, which countries have pledged to aim for under the global Paris Agreement on climate change, but it would be expected to protect more wildlife, she added.

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

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