Climate change could wipe out half of all plant and animal species from the Amazon rainforest by 2100, finds study
More than half of the wildlife in the worldâs most biodiverse areas could face extinction by the end of the century if efforts are not stepped up to combat climate change, according to a new report.
The study, conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, University of East Anglia and the James Cook University, warns rising temperatures could have a disastrous impact on areas such as the Amazon, Galapagos islands and Madagascar, as well as European coasts and the Caribbean.
Researchers examined the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 species of plants and animals in 35 of the worldâs most naturally rich areas.
They explored three different climate change futures: a 2C rise in global temperatures â" the threshold set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, a 3.2C rise â" predicted for the end of the century, and a 4.5C increase â" the forecast outcome if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked.
The study suggests a global mean temperature rise of 4.5C would have a devastating impact on plants and animals, with the Amazon at risk of losing 69% of its plant species.
A temperature rise of 3.2C could lead to the loss of almost 50% of animal species in the Amazon.
Around 60% of all species would be at risk of local extinction in Madagascar â" an island nation famed for its diverse wildlife â" and up to 80% of mammals could be wiped out in the Miombo Woodlands in southern Africa.
Increased average temperatures and associated phenomena such as erratic weather would also have a catastrophic impact, the study warns, with significantly less rainfall in the Mediterranean, Madagascar and the the Cerrado-Pantanal in Argentina.
This could lead to pressure on the water supplies of African elephants, which need to drink around 150-300 litres of water a day.
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Rising sea-levels could also submerge the breeding grounds of tigers in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, situated on the coastline of India and Bangladesh.
Lead researcher Professor Rachel Warren, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA, said: âOur research quantifies the benefits of limiting global warming to 2Â°C for species in 35 of the worldâs most wildlife-rich areas.
âWe studied 80,000 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and found that 50% of species could be lost from these areas without climate policy.
âHowever, if global warming is limited to 2Â°C above pre-industrial levels, this could be reduced to 25%.
âLimiting wa rming to within 1.5Â°C was not explored, but would be expected to protect even more wildlife.â
The research was published ahead of Earth Hour, the worldâs largest environmental event, in the journal Climatic Change.
World news in pictures
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World news in pictures
1/50 14 March 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is sworn in by the President of the German lower house during the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Bundestag in Berlin. Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Party CDU, starts her fourth term a s German chancellor, capping months of political uncertainty as she bartered with her rivals of the SPD to help govern Europe's top economy in a "grand coalition".
2/50 13 March 2018
Nepali students of University of Dhaka light candles in memory of the victims of the US-Bangla aircraft crash in Nepal, Bangladesh.
3/50 12 March 2018
Rescuers work to save passengers from a plane crash at Kathmandu airport in Nepal.
4/50 11 March 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron pose for photographs as they visit the Taj Mahal.
5/50 10 March 2018
Franceâs far-right party Front National (FN) president Marine Le Pen applauds former US President advisor Steve Bannon after his speech during the Front National party annual congress, in Lille, northern France.
6/50 9 March 2018
A television screen showing pictures of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at a railway station in Seoul.
7/50 8 March 2018
Protesters form triangles with their hands during a demonstration for womenâs rights in Bilbao, Spain.
8/50 7 March 2018
A labourer works on a salt pan in the outskirts of the Nagaur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan ahead of International Womenâs day.
9/50 6 March 2018
Sri Lanka's army soldiers and police personnel stand near a vandalised building in Digana, a suburb of Kandy. Extremists Buddhist mobs swept through the town on Monday, burning at least 11 Muslim owned shops and homes. Sri Lanka's president declared a state of emergency Tuesday amid fears that anti-Muslim attacks in the central hill town could spread.
10/50 5 March 2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The NPC has over 3,000 delegates and is the world's largest parliament or legislative assembly though its function is largely as a formal seal of approval for the policies fixed by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. The NPC runs alongside the annual plenary meetings of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), together known as 'Lianghui' or 'Two Meetings'.
11/50 4 March 2018
Female protestor stands up with the words 'Berlusconi Sei Scaduto' written on her body, translating as 'Berlusconi, youâve expired', as Silvio Berlusconi stands during voting of the political and regional elections in Milan, Italy.
12/50 3 March 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a rally to support his bid in the upcoming presidential election at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
13/50 2 March 2018
A light turns red outside of Germany's Krupp Mannesmann steel factory. German officials and industry groups warned U.S. President Donald Trump that he risks sparking a trade war with his closest allies if he goes ahead with plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
14/50 1 March 2018
People dance during Holi festival celebrations in Kathmandu, Nepal.
15/50 28 February 2018
Indian fans watch as the funeral procession of the late Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor passes through Mumbai.
16/50 27 February 2018
Candles are left in tribute to murdered Slovakian investigative reporter Jan Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina, 27, at Slovak National Uprising Square in Bratislava. A leading Slovak newspaper says organised crime may have been involved in the shooting death that shocked Slovakia. The bodies of Kuciak and Kusnirova were found Sunday evening in their house in the town of Velka Maca, east of the capital.
17/50 26 February 2018
Colosseum during a heavy snowfall in Rome, Italy.
18/50 25 February 2018
Family members of victims of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan by a North Korean attack hold up defaced portraits o f Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, during a rally against his visit near the Unification bridge in Paju, South Korea. A North Korean high-level delegation led by Kim arrived to attend the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The signs read: " Let's punish Kim Young Chol."
19/50 24 February 2018
Ivanka Trump (C) cheers while sat between former Olympic US bobsledders Shauna Rohbock (L) and Valerie Fleming (R) as the United States beat Sweden in their Men's Gold Medal Curling match at the Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, South Korea. Ivanka Trump is on a four-day visit to South Korea to attend the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
20/50 23 February 2018
David Allen Turpin (C), who along with Louise Anna Turpin is accused of abusing and holding 13 of their children captive, appears in court with attorneys David Macher (L) and Alison Lowe in court in Riverside, California. According to Riverside County Sheriffs, David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin held 13 malnourished children ranging in age from 2 to 29 captive in their Perris, California home. Deputies were alerted after a 17-year-old daughter escaped by jumping through a window shortly before dawn, carrying a de-activated mobile phone from which she was able to call 911 for help. Responding deputies described conditions in the home as foul-smelling with some kids chained to a bed and suffering injuries as a result. Adult children appeared at first to be minors because of their malnourished state. The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment.
21/50 22 February 2018
The Elephanta Island, home to the famous Elephanta Caves, finally gets electricity after a wait of 70 years. Seventy years after Independence, a 7.5-km long undersea cable has finally brought electricity to the world-famous Gharapuri Isle, which houses the UNESCO World Heritage site Elephanta Caves, about 10-km from Mumbai, India.
22/50 21 February 2018
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays his respects at the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar. Trudeau and his family are on a week-long official trip to India.
23/50 20 February 2018
Members of the Syrian civil defence evacuate an injured civilian on a stretcher from an area hit by a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
24/50 19 February 2018
A Thai Navy instructor demonstrates how to catch a snake during a jungle survival exercise as part of the "Cobra Gold 2018" (CG18) joint military exercise with US soldiers, at a military base in Chonburi province, Thailand.
25/50 18 Februar y 2018
Children play outside their destroyed school in the Frikeh village, in Idlib, north-western Syria
26/50 17 February 2018
A pro-Kurd demonstrator attends a protest demanding the release of the Kurdistan Workersâ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in Strasbourg, France
27/50 16 February 2018
Joe Zevuloni mourns in front of a cross placed in a park to commemorate the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida
28/50 15 February 2018
South Africa's new president Cyril Ramaphosa holds up his right hand as he is sworn into office
29/50 14 February 2018
The African National Congressâs (ANC) treasurer general Paul Mashatile (left) and parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu address a media briefing, after an emergency ANC caucus meeting on 14 February in Cape Town. South Africaâs parliament will hold a vote of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma on 15 February, the ruling ANC party said, signalling its determination to eject him from office after days of stalemate
30/50 13 February 2018
North Korean cheerleaders are surrounded by media as they attempt to walk on Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung, South Korea
31/50 12 February 2018
Former US President Barack Obama unveils his portrait at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC
32/50 9 February 2018
US Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's sister Kim Yo-Jong attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
33/50 8 February 2018
Bangladesh police charge towards activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party protesting following a verdict against opposition leader Khaleda Zia in Dhaka. The ex-Prime Minister of Bangladesh was jailed for five years on corruption charges.
34/50 7 February 2018
Rescue services search for people in a damaged building in eastern Taiwan after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Hualien on the night of 6 February, 2018. Media reports said several buildings were damaged and at least four people were killed and some 100 were injured during the quake. Teams are trying to rescue people inside the buildings. Some bridges and roads are damaged and the main road to Hualien is closed. More than 100 earthquakes have hit off Taiwan's east coast in the past three days. The Seismological Observation Center said they are cuased by the friction between the Philipine Plate and Eurasian Plate.
35/50 6 February 2018
Anti-North Korean protesters push against police as a ferry carrying a North Korean art troupe for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games approaches the port of Mukho in Donghae. Around 120 North Korean art performers in matching red coats and fur hats left for the South, its state media said on February 6, the latest in the flurry of cross-border exchanges in the run-up to the Pyeongchang Olympics.
36/50 5 February 2018
Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LII.
37/50 4 February 2018
Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce, South Carolina. At least two were killed and dozens injured.
38/50 3 February 2018
Members of security services react as a man in the crowd tries to shake hands with French President Emmanuel Macron, who walks next to Senegalese President Macky Sall in a street of Saint-Louis, Senegal.
39/50 2 February 2018
Co unty Sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves, the father of three daughters who were abused by Larry Nassar, after he tried to attack the former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan.
40/50 1 February 2018
Abu Rabih, 65, walks through the rubble with his eight-year-old grandson Yahya following air strikes by regime forces which hit the building where they live in Arbin, in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus. Arbin is in the Eastern Ghouta region which has been under government siege since 2013.
41/50 31 January 2018
A 'Supermoon' shines its blood red colors during a full eclipse above the Big A Sign of Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. A 'Supermoon' commonly is described as a full moon at its closest distance to the earth with the moon appearing larger and brighter than usual.
42/50 30 January 2018
A man wears a mask among fellow supporters as Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga (not pictured) takes a symbolic presidential oath of office in Nairobi.
43/50 29 January 2018
Tractors are parked outside a meeting of Europ ean Union agriculture ministers during a protest by Belgian farmers in Brussels.
44/50 28 January 2018
Bruno Mars accepts Record of the Year for '24K Magic' with his production team onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York.
45/50 27 January 2018
Students with torches gather prior to a march in celebration of the 165th birth anniversary of Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti, in Havana.
46/50 26 January 2018
A firefighter inspects a burnt hospital after a fire in Miryang, South Korea. 37 people were killed in the fire, with the number of casualties likely to rise further.
47/50 25 January 2018
Rescue workers and police officers stand near derailed trains in Pioltello, on the outskirts of Milan.
48/50 24 January 2018
Afghan police officers take position during a blast and gun fire in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
49/50 23 January 2018
Workers clean the beach of the coastal town of Zouk Mosbeh, north of Beirut, as garbage washed up and piled along the shore after stormy weather.
50/50 22 January 2018
A Free Syrian Army soldier takes a selfie as fighters join up with Turkish troops near the Syrian border at Hassa, Hatay province. Turkey shelled Kurdish militia targets in Syria and claimed progress in a cross-border offensive that has stoked concern among its allies and neighbours.
Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF, said: âWithin our childrenâs lifetime, places like the Amazon and Galapagos Islands could become unrecognisable, with half the species that live there wiped out by human-caused climate change.
âAround the world, beautiful iconi c animals like Amur tigers or Javan rhinos are at risk of disappearing, as well as tens of thousands plants and smaller creatures that are the foundation of all life on earth.
âThat is why this Earth Hour we are asking everyone to make a promise for the planet and make the everyday changes to protect our planet.â
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