Half of wildlife could disappear from key biodiverse regions due to climate change: report

Updated 2018-03-15 14:39:03 Xinhua

About half of wildlife and 60 percent of plants in 35 of the world's most exceptional ecosystems and habitats are at risk of extinction due to climate change, said a report based on a study.

The study, conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), University of East Anglia in Britain, and the James Cook University in Australia, was published on Tuesday in the journal Climate Change.

The study concluded that nearly 80,000 plants and animals in 35 biodiverse areas, including the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos islands, southwestern Australia and Madagascar, could be at risk in the next century if global temperatures continue to rise.

"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 WWF.

Researchers examined the impact of climate change with three scenarios: a 2-degree-Celsius rise in global temperature, the upper target of the 2015 Paris Agreement, a 3.2-degree-Celsius rise, the estimated forecast given exiting national commitments, and a 4.5-degree-Celsius rise, if current carbon emissions trends remain unchanged.

The study found that in the second scenario, 60 percent of plant species and 50 percent of animal species in the Amazon would be wiped put. In the first scenario, the outlook is better, with more than 35 percent of species at risk of local extinction.

"The collected results reveal some striking trends. They add powerful evidence that we urgently need global action to mitigate climate change," the report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in June last year that the United States would withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to fight climate change. Trump said in January that his country could join the international accord if it had a "completely different deal", calling the exiting one a "disaster" for the United States.

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