Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Canaries in the coal mine

A new report from the WWF, looking at climate change, suggests a trend towards major bird extinction(s). The report – Bird Species and Climate Change – has reviewed more than 200 scientific articles to reach its conclusions – that bird extinction rates could be as high as 38 percent in Europe if global warming rises by another 1.2°C.

In the UK seabirds are particularly vulnerable, and their breeding crash in 2004 has been linked to global warming. As a result of a sandeel shortage – due to both warmer waters and reduced plankton abundance – guillemots, skuas, kittiwakes and terns all suffered drastic breeding season failures.

The Director of the WWF Global Climate Change Programme stated ‘ Birds have long been used as indicators of environmental change, and with this report we see they are the quintessential ‘canaries in the coal mine’ when it comes to climate change’.

The full report (free) can be found at: http://assets.panda.org/downloads/birdsclimatereportfinal.pdf

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