Scientists have found that 27% of England's plants and
animal species will be put at risk as temperatures climb, including
some of the nation's best known birds.
new report from Natural England finds that the cuckoo,
peregrine, short-eared owl and barnacle goose all face very high
risk of decline with 2C of warming.
The nationwide study of more than 3,000 species has
attracted a fair bit of media coverage today. The
BBC focuses on the risk posed to British birds, especially
The Express says species in the north of the country will
fare better than their southern counterparts.
Grahame Madge from the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds (RSPB) tells Carbon Brief:
"This study confirms our fears
that birds are vulnerable to climate change."
But not all species will suffer, as today's
Times points out. Garden favourites, such as the house
sparrow, skylark, song thrush, blackbird and starling, will be
reasonably unaffected. Meanwhile, wasps, bees and ants look set to
flourish as temperatures rise, the research notes.
Plants and animals have a range of conditions in which
they can live comfortably. For some, that range is small, making
them vulnerable to slight changes in their environment. Others are
less sensitive, being better able to tolerate a wider range of
Short-eared owl | gbrazzil/flickr
Since there is no one-size-fits-all rule, scientists need to
examine how climate change is likely to affect individual species
across the UK, and then combine them to get an overall picture.
Natural England, the government's adviser for
the natural environment in England, looked at
how populations of 3,048 plant and animal species are distributed
at the moment, and how each one's 'envelope' of habitable
conditions is likely to change in future.
The scientists used the UKCP09 projections,
which expect average temperature in the UK to rise by 2-7C by the
end of the century. The bottom of that range is achievable only
with stringent mitigation, while the top is what scientists expect
if if fossil fuel emissions stay very high.