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2°C of global warming is too hot for Canada’s fish and forests

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  • Mike Neuman
    2°C of global warming is too hot for Canada s fish and forests 30 Nov 2005 Montreal, Canada – Canada s Atlantic fish will be squeezed into ever smaller
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2005
      2°C of global warming is too hot for Canada's fish and forests
      30 Nov 2005

      Montreal, Canada – Canada's Atlantic fish will be squeezed into ever
      smaller patches of cool water, endangered Atlantic salmon will be
      doomed, and key boreal forest species will be stranded as their
      natural habitats erode, if the globe's temperature is allowed to rise
      too far, says WWF.

      A new WWF report, launched at the Eleventh session of the United
      Nastions Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention
      (COP-11), examines the impacts of a 2°C (3.6°F) increase in global
      average temperature on the Canadian fishery and forestry sectors.

      While various studies have looked at ecosystem-wide impacts, this is
      the first time that scientists have studied the impacts of a 2°C
      warming on the distribution of individual species. Unless aggressive
      action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global warming
      will rise to 2°C above pre-industrial times, a threshold at which
      climate change impacts would become unmanageable for nature and

      "The threat from global warming means that there will be few fish to
      fish and not many trees to harvest," says Julia Langer, WWF-Canada's
      Director of Global Threats. "Canada's obligation to fight climate
      change takes on added urgency when the cost of inaction is our
      emblamatic renewable resource base."

      The report states that a 2°C warming will increase Atlantic water
      temperatures from 1.5 to 2.2°C. The warming continues the pressure on
      fish populations already strained by overfishing, pollution and
      habitat loss. Both Atlantic salmon and Atlantic deep sea scallops may
      be lost in their southern range, with no northward gain. The Asian
      shore crab, an alien species, is likely to invade shoreline habitats
      along the coast of Nova Scotia, Gulf of St. Lawrence and parts of
      Newfoundland and Labrador, potentially covering the entire Canadian

      The potential for dramatic change in Ontario's forests is alarming.
      Sugar maple, black spruce and jack pine are projected to decline
      because their habitats move northwards too quickly. Production of
      maple syrup may be significantly reduced if temperatures remain above
      freezing during the sugaring-off period, although a small
      contribution to the GDP, effects on local economies and regional
      heritage could be large. And warmer, drier conditions are expected to
      increase both frequency and severity of fires and insect outbreaks in
      Canada's boreal forests. This could result in younger forests overall
      which reduces the amount of harvestable timber.

      "If we are to avoid irreparable damage to Canada's nature and economy
      we need to act now to slow the increase in global temperature," says
      Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Global Climate Change
      Programme. "The Montreal conference is the moment where leaders need
      to take a deep breath and make a formal decision to negotiate more
      action and commitments to cut CO2 emissions."

      More than 10,000 delegates from government, business and civil
      society are gathering in Montreal for the international climate
      change meeting from November 28 to December 9. Along with adopting
      all of the necessary decisions to make the current Kyoto Protocol
      operational, countries must respond to the growing threat of climate
      change and commit to begin negotiations for the much deeper cuts in
      emissions that are needed after the first period of the Kyoto
      Protocol ends in 2012.

      For further information:
      Martin Hiller, Communications Manager
      WWF Global Climate Change Programme
      Tel: +41 79 347 2256
      E-mail: mhiller@...

      Wendy Douglas, Communications Manager
      Tel: + 1 416 484 7726
      E-mail: wdouglas@...
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