Environment and Resources - The Erosion of Biodiversity


* The warming climate is undermining biodiversity by accelerating
habitat loss, altering the timing of animal migrations and plant
flowerings, and shifting some species toward the poles and to higher altitudes.

* The oceans have absorbed about half of the carbon dioxide
emitted by humans in the last 200 years. Climate change is altering fish migration routes, pushing up sea levels, intensifying coastal erosion, raising ocean acidity, and interfering with currents that move vital nutrients upward from the deep sea.

* Despite a relatively calm U.S. hurricane season in 2006, the
world experienced more weather-related disasters than in any of the previous three years. Nearly 100 million people were affected.

Already, the window to prevent catastrophic climate change appears to be closing. Some governments are starting to redirect their attention away from climate change mitigation and toward staking their claims in a warming world. "Canada is spending $3 billion to build eight new patrol boats to reinforce its claim over Arctic waterways. Denmark and Russia are starting to vie for control over the Lomonosov Ridge, where new sources of oil and natural gas could be accessed if the Arctic Circle becomes ice free-fossil fuels that will further exacerbate climate change. These actions assume that a warming world is here," said Assadourian. www.worldwatch.org

A United Nations panel warned global warming will cause extinctions to mount, water shortages to spread and droughts and floods to become more frequent as man-made emissions of greenhouse gases cause the Earth to warm. The Arctic, sub-Saharan Africa, small island states and the big river deltas of Asia are among the most vulnerable areas, Martin Parry, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group that produced today's report, told reporters at a press conference in Brussels. 'It is the poorest of the poor in the world, even the poorest in the most prosperous nations, who are going to be the worst hit and are the most vulnerable,'' IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said. 'We have far greater regional detail,'' than the last IPCC report in 2001, such as the melting of glaciers, sea-level rise, impacts on agriculture and food security, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=