Environment & Biodiversity Current Affairs - 2019

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2019 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2019.

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Global Warming Impacts Marine Ecosystem Most: Study

According to research study conducted by Rutgers University in US and published in Journal of Nature, marine ecosystem and sea creatures are most affected by global warming. It is first research which compares cold-blooded marine and land species sensitivity to global warming and their ability of finding refuge from heat even while staying in their normal habitats.

It studied worldwide research on nearly 400 species from lizards and fish to spiders. Researchers calculated safe conditions for 88 marine and 294 land species and coolest temperatures available to each species during hottest parts of year.

Key finding

According to study, global warming can wipe out two times more ocean-dwelling species than land and dwelling species from their habitats.

Vulnerability faced by sea creatures might impact human communities relying on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity.

Loss of marine population can deplete species genetic diversity, cascade impacts on their predators and prey and can alter ecosystems that benefits human society.

Reason: It is because unlike land animals who can hide from heat in forests, shaded areas or underground, many sea animals are not open to such luxury. On average this makes marine species, more likely to live on edge of dangerously high temperatures.

Consequences: Loss of population can deplete species’ genetic diversity, have cascading impacts on their predators and prey and may significantly impact human communities that rely on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity.

Way Forward

If oceans will continue supporting human well-being, nutrition and economic activity, then new conservation efforts and more research will be required. Also, with advancement of climate change, it is important to develop understanding about which species and ecosystems will be most severely affected by global warming, as it will further guide conservation and management efforts.

Marine Ecosystem

They are Earth’s largest aquatic ecosystems and are most prevalent out of all types of ecosystems on planet. They have a high salt content in contrast with freshwater ecosystems, which have lower salt content. They are filled with life, provide nearly half of Earth’s oxygen and are home to wide varieties of species.

Month:  Categories: Environment & Biodiversity

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1 million species risk extinction due to humans: Draft UN report

According to draft of UN report set to be released on May 6, 2019, up to One million world species are at risk of extinction due to human activity.  It highlights how humanity has undermined natural resources upon which its very survival depends.

This 44-page draft report which has summarized 1,800-page assessment of scientific literature on the state of Nature conducted by the UN  will be examined  on 29 April, 2019 by 130 nations that will meet in Paris, France.

Key Findings of Report

  • Extinction: It warns of forthcoming rapid acceleration in global rate of species extinction. With upto 1 million species at extinction risk, and one fourth of known plant and animal species already threatened, loss of species is tens to hundreds of times higher than it was, on average, over last 10 million years.
  • Causes: Direct cause of species loss are continuously shrinking habitat and land-use change, hunting for food, illegal trade in wildlife body parts, climate change and pollution.
  • Impact on Ecosystem: Almost three-fourth of land, half of marine environments and half of inland waterways have been ‘severely’ changed by human activity.
  • This is mainly due to human activities, like overconsumption, illegal poaching, deforestation and fossil fuel emissions, which further push ecosystems toward a point of no return.
  • Impact of Humans: Such depletion will harm humans, especially indigenous vulnerable groups and those living in poorest communities.
  • Threat equivalent to climate change: The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves are a few of diminishing services offered by Nature, which poses threat not less than that by climate change.
  • Dependence on Nature: More than 2 billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, 4 billion rely on natural medicines, and 75% of global food crops require animal pollination.
  • It cautions against climate change solutions that may accidentally harm nature. Example-Biofuels use combined with “carbon capture and storage” (i.e. sequestration of CO2 released when biofuels are burned) is a key in transition to green energy on a global scale. But land needed for growing biofuel crops may lead to cutting into food production, expansion of protected areas or reforestation efforts.

Way Forward

We need to recognise that climate change and loss of Nature are equally important, not just for environment, but also for development and economic issues. Unsustainable methods used for our food and energy production undermines regulating services we get from Nature, therefore only “transformative change” can stem the damage.

Month:  Categories: Environment & Biodiversity

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