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Planet Ark World Environment News Impacts of Climate Change

Date: 02-Apr-07
Country: INTERNATIONAL

The draft, to be discussed by scientists and government experts in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is looking at the regional effects of warming:

AFRICA

-- Reductions in the area suitable for agriculture, and in length of growing seasons and yield potential, are likely to lead to increased risk of hunger.

-- An increase of 5-8 percent (60-90 million hectares) of arid and semi-arid land in Africa is projected by the 2080s under various climate change scenarios.

-- Current stress on water in many areas of Africa is likely to increase, with floods and droughts.

-- Any changes in the productivity of large lakes are likely to affect local food supplies.

-- Ecosystems in Africa are likely to experience dramatic changes with some species facing possible extinctions.

-- Major delta regions with large populations, such as the Nile and Niger rivers, are threatened by sea level rises.

EUROPE

-- The percentage of river basin areas with severe water stress is expected to increase from 19 percent to 34-36 percent by the 2070s.

-- Millions of people are likely to live in watersheds with shortages in western Europe.

-- Under scenarios of a fast rise in global temperatures, an extra 2.5 million people a year will be affected by coastal flooding by the 2080s.

-- By the 2070s, hydropower potential for Europe is expected to decline overall by 6 percent, ranging from a 20-50 percent decrease in the Mediterranean region to a 15-30 percent increase in Northern and Eastern Europe.

-- A large percentage of European flora could become vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered or extinct under a range of scenarios.

-- By 2050, crops are expected to show a northward expansion. In northern Europe, wheat yields may gain by 8 to 25 percent by 2050. But in the south, yields may range from a fall of 8 percent to a gain of 22 percent by 2050.

-- Forested area is likely to increase in the north and decrease in the south, with a redistribution of species. Forest fire risk is virtually certain to increase greatly in southern Europe.

-- Small alpine glaciers will disappear, while larger glaciers will suffer a volume reduction of between 30 to 70 percent by 2050.

-- Tourism to the Mediterranean might fall in summer and increase in spring and autumn.

-- A rapid shutdown of the Gulf Stream bringing warm waters northwards across the Atlantic to Europe -- viewed as a low probability -- could have severe impacts such as cutting crop production, more cold-related deaths, and a shift in populations south.

NORTH AMERICA

-- Population growth, rising property values and continued investment increase the vulnerability of coastal regions. Any rise in destructiveness of coastal storms is very likely to bring "dramatic increases" in losses from severe weather and storm surges.

-- Sea level rises and tidal surges and flooding have the "potential to severely affect transportation and infrastructure along the Gulf, Atlantic and northern coasts."

-- Severe heatwaves are likely to worsen over parts of the United States and Canada.

-- Ozone related deaths are projected to increase by 4.5 percent from the 1990s to the 2050s.

-- Projected warming in the western mountains is likely to cause large decreases in snowpack, earlier snowmelt, more winter rains by mid-century.

-- Climate change is likely to increase forest production. But by the second half of the century, the dominant impacts will be disruptions from pests and fires. Forest areas burnt each summer in Canada could rise by between 74 and 118 percent by 2100 compared to now.

-- Vulnerability to climate change is likely to be concentrated in specific groups and regions, such as indigenous peoples and the poor and elderly in cities.

LATIN AMERICA

-- Glaciers in the tropical Andes are very likely to disappear over the next 15 years, reducing wat

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