Environment - July 21
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Earth facing 'catastrophic' loss of species
Ian Sample, Guardian
The Earth is on the brink of "major biodiversity crisis" fuelled by the steady destruction of ecosystems, a group of the world's most distinguished scientists and policy experts warn today.
Nineteen leading specialists in the field of biodiversity, including Robert Watson, chief scientist at the World Bank, and Professor Georgina Mace, director of the Institute of Zoology, are calling for the urgent creation of a global body of scientists to offer advice and urge governments to halt what they call a potentially "catastrophic loss of species".
Destruction of natural habitats and the effects of climate change are causing species to die out at 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate, leading some scientists to warn we are facing the next mass extinction.
Nearly one-quarter of the world's mammals, one-third of amphibians and more than one-tenth of bird species are threatened with extinction. Climate change alone is expected to force a further 15%- 37% of species to the brink of extinction within the next 50 years.
Writing in the journal Nature today, the experts from 13 nations urge for the new body, the international mechanism of scientific expertise on biodiversity (Imoseb), to be set up to force better biodiversity policies around the world.
(20 July 2006)
A complete list of things caused by global warming
John Brignell, Number Watch
aggressive polar bears,
billions of deaths,
blackbirds stop singing,
blue mussels return,
building season extension,
See original for complete list.
'Sign Kyoto Protocol' Gorbachev says
The Advertiser (August)
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev says it is important that Australia and the United States sign up to the Kyoto Protocol.
Mr Gorbachev is in Brisbane to co-chair the global forum Earth Dialogues, which will feature leading international experts on the environment, economics and science over the next three days.
The Nobel laureate said he would be raising the issue of Kyoto at the summit, regardless of whether Prime Minister John Howard was in attendance or not.
"I think that all of us see how the climate is changing before our very eyes," Mr Gorbachev told reporters through an interpreter.
"It is true that historically the world has seen both the cold cycles and the warm cycles, the ice ages and the hot periods, but even if part of the reason for the current global warming is the natural cycle, we should do our best not to aggravate this problem with the human impact on global warming."
Mr Gorbachev, who lobbies on the environment and its impact on global security through his organisation Green Cross International, said all scientific evidence supported the validity of Kyoto.
"There is very sound science behind the Kyoto Protocol," Mr Gorbachev said.
"The best scientists support this approach and all attempts to refute that science have been unsuccessful.
(21 July 2006)
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