Map reveals species most at risk from climate change
We heard this week that a quarter of all mammals are threatened with extinction. One of those, the polar bear, made headlines earlier this year for being the first animal to be listed on the US Endangered Species Act, because of its vulnerability to climate change.
This begs the question: aren't all species vulnerable to climate change? Why protect the polar bear but not the ringed seal?
This is the question that a huge endeavour led by theWorld Conservation Union (IUCN) is attempting to answer. Its first results were presented in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.
The verdict is bleak: of 17,000 assessed species, over 7000 could become threatened with extinction because of climate change. Read the report (PDF)
"Climate change is already happening, but conservation decision-makers currently have very little guidance on which species are going to be the worst affected," says Wendy Foden, who led the efforts. Yet, "Climate change is going to affect everything we do in terms of conservation," adds Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy head of the species programme at the IUCN.
In order to assess which species need protection first, experts working with the IUCN have spent the past few years reviewing 17,000 species of birds, amphibians and warm-water corals to assess how susceptible they are to climate change.
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