WWF report highlights four UK species at risk from global warming
A new report has set out the impact of climate change on wildlife in the UK, warning each half a degree difference brings additional pressures.
The WWF report looked at 12 species around the world, including four which are present in the UK: the mountain hare, Atlantic puffin, bumblebees and bluebells.
The wildlife charity is urging world leaders to agree targets and actions at the upcoming UN climate summit, COP26, to be held in Glasgow in November.
It said global warming is already causing a decline in the numbers of puffins and other seabirds, as high winds, heavy rainfall and rising sea surface temperatures affect their ability to fish.
Mountain hares, native to the Highlands, could be driven to higher ground and into smaller and more fragmented territories due to changing weather conditions leaving them exposed to predators.
The WWF has said one in nine Scottish species and habitats are under threat of extinction due to climate change.
Sheila George, environment and food policy manager, said: “Even small increases in temperature threaten many of the plants and animals that not only make Scotland unique, but that we also depend on for food and pollination.
“That’s why it’s so vital the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow are a success and agreement is reached to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.
“World leaders must agree targets, and the actions necessary to achieve them, to keep the natural world we rely on safe and thriving for us and future generations.”
The report said bluebells were under threat from air pollution, the destruction of woodland and invasive species. It also said a rise of 2 degrees would make the UK “inhospitable” for the species.
Meanwhile bumblebee populations, which have already seen massive declines, could be pushed towards extinction as they are unable to adapt quickly enough to higher temperature.