NewEnergyNews: KISS THE BIRDS GOODBYE?

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    Friday, June 14, 2013

    KISS THE BIRDS GOODBYE?

    Up to half of all birds threatened by climate change

    Michael Marshall, 13 June 2013 (New Scientist)

    “Between a quarter and a half of all birds, along with around a third of amphibians and a quarter of corals, are highly vulnerable to climate change. These findings have emerged from the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impact of global warming on life. Its results have led some [scientists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)] to warn of the need for unprecedented conservation efforts if we don't cut our emissions.

    “Some species may be able to cope if their environment changes. Others may be particularly suited to evolving new adaptations that will allow them to acclimatise to the changing environment. And yet more species may simply move to new areas…[The researchers] tried to take all that into account in their new assessment. They considered how quickly species could relocate, and whether there were barriers like mountain ranges in their way. They also examined how rapidly species could evolve. For instance, species that reproduce quickly have a better chance of evolving new adaptations than those that do not…”

    “So far, the team has applied their criteria to all birds, amphibians and corals. Species were classed as highly vulnerable if their local climate is changing rapidly, they are sensitive to these changes, and have little ability to adapt or relocate…The results make for grim reading. Among birds, 24 to 50 per cent of species are highly vulnerable, according to the team's most optimistic and pessimistic forecasts, as are 22 to 44 per cent of amphibians and 15 to 32 per cent of corals. The figures are similar to those obtained in a 2004 study…

    “…[M]any of these species are not currently classed as threatened… 7 to 41 per cent of birds are highly vulnerable to climate change despite being considered safe…Certain areas are hotspots of threatened species…[T]he Amazon rainforest contains huge numbers of birds and amphibians that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Most Arctic birds are also highly vulnerable, as are corals in the Caribbean and the Coral Triangle in south-east Asia…”

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