Warming could threaten half of species in 33 key areas: report

Updated 14 March 2018

Warming could threaten half of species in 33 key areas: report

PARIS: Global warming could place 25 to 50 percent of species in the Amazon, Madagascar and other biodiverse areas at risk of localized extinction within decades, a report said Wednesday.
The lower projection is based on a mercury rise of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels — the warming ceiling the world’s nations agreed on in 2015.
The highest is for out-of-control warming of 4.5 C.
“Global biodiversity will suffer terribly over the next century unless we do everything we can,” said conservation group WWF, which commissioned the analysis published in science journal Climatic Change.
“We must keep average global temperatures down to the absolute minimum.”
The report focused on 33 so-called “Priority Places” which host some of the world’s richest and most unusual terrestrial species, including iconic, endangered, or endemic plants and animals.
They include southern Chile, the eastern Himalayas, South Africa’s unique Fynbos ecoregion, Borneo, Sumatra, the Namibian desert, West Africa, southwest Australia, coastal east Africa, and southern Africa’s Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs.
The team looked at the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 terrestrial plant, mammal, bird, amphibian, and reptile species.
At warming of 4.5 C, based on a “business-as-usual” scenario of no emissions cuts, the Amazon could risk the local extinction of 69 percent of its plant species.
The Miombo Woodlands risks losing 90 percent of its amphibians, 86 percent of birds, and 80 percent of mammals, according to the report.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries made voluntary pledges to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

But even if those pledges are met, scientists predict warming over 3 C, a recipe for disastrous climate change-triggered sea level rises, superstorms, floods, and droughts.
Warming of 3.2 C would place about 37 percent of species in Priority Places at risk of local extinction, said a WWF statement.
“Even with the emissions cuts pledged under the Paris Agreement, temperatures that were extreme in the past are set to be the new normal in all Priority Places,” it added — in some as early as 2030.
Limiting warming to 2 C would enable many species to continue inhabiting the areas they currently occupy, according to the report.
And if animals can move freely — not constrained by roads, fences, or human settlements — the proportion of species at extinction risk at warming of 2 C drops from 25 to 20 percent.
The report comes ahead of a major meeting of the IPBES inter-governmental panel in Medellin, Colombia, where scientists and governments will release five assessments of the state of biodiversity.
Extinction is not simply about the disappearance of species, said the WWF, “but about profound changes to ecosystems that provide vital services to hundreds of millions of people.”
Job- and revenue-generating tourism would suffer greatly if species disappear, and as-yet-undiscovered medicines from plants forever lost.
“Put simply, we have to stop burning fossil fuels,” said the WWF.


Philippines’ Duterte cuts short Japan trip in ‘unbearable pain’

Updated 19 min 29 sec ago

Philippines’ Duterte cuts short Japan trip in ‘unbearable pain’

  • The 74-year-old hurt his hip in the crash last week, with his health already the subject of intense speculation
  • Questions over his health have swirled since he took office in 2016

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, suffering from “unbearable pain” in his spine after a motorcycle accident, is cutting short a trip to Japan, his spokesman said Tuesday.
The 74-year-old hurt his hip in the crash last week, with his health already the subject of intense speculation following his disclosure earlier this month that he is suffering from a disease that causes one of his eyelids to droop.
A statement from the leader’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte would leave Japan sooner than planned, having attended the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito with the aid of a cane.
“The palace announces that the president will cut short his trip to Japan due to unbearable pain in his spinal column near the pelvic bone,” Panelo said.
Duterte later described his predicament in a short video clip posted on Facebook by Senator Christopher Go, a former chief aide who accompanied him on the trip.
“If you ride motorbikes you will experience a crash once or twice in your life. All those who are into motorbikes, they crash like I did,” he said, grimacing and moaning while sat in the back of a car beside Go.
“I can’t bear it, it’s around my belt area (waistline), about three inches. It’s really painful,” added the president, who Go said was on his way back to the Philippines.
Panelo said the pain was “a consequence” of the motorcycle accident that the presidency said Duterte had suffered on the palace grounds.
The leader fell off his vehicle just 10 days after he publicly revealed that he has myasthenia gravis, which causes muscle weakness and can result in drooping of eyelids, blurred vision as well as weakness in a person’s extremities.
Questions over his health have swirled since he took office in 2016, with Duterte at times skipping events and meetings or discussing his various ailments in long and rambling speeches.
He has previously said he used to take fentanyl, a potent opioid painkiller, because of a spinal injury caused by other motorcycle accidents when he was younger.
According to Duterte, his doctor made him stop using fentanyl on learning he was “abusing the drug” by using more than the prescribed patches.
Duterte has also said he suffers from migraines and other illnesses including Buerger’s disease, which is characterised by inflammation of blood vessels, usually due to smoking.
Duterte will see his neurologist Wednesday after flying back to Manila late Tuesday, while his daughter Sara Duterte Carpio will represent him at the emperor’s banquet late Tuesday, Panelo said.
The Filipino leader attended Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony earlier Tuesday using a cane to help him walk, he added.
Senator Go also released a photo of the president sitting down with his forehead propped up by a cane.
The Philippine constitution requires the handover of power to the vice president if the leader dies or is incapacitated.
However Panelo said Tuesday “the public can rest assured that there is nothing to worry about as regards the physical health and condition of the president.”