Editorial: News from the BirdLife Partnership, November 2007
Welcome to this month’s BirdLife Editorial: an opportunity for us to summarise events and stories coming from BirdLife International - the world’s largest alliance of conservation organisations.
Last week saw the start of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the island of Bali, Indonesia. It brings together representatives of over 180 countries together with observers from intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the media.
One thing is clear. Things need to change and they need to change quickly. The scientific evidence is overwhelming and unequivocal that climate change is a reality and is largely caused by human activities. Our need for fossil fuels (Clean-up continues after California oil spill, 22 November; Thousands of birds die in Black Sea oil spill, 13 November) and our desire to travel (Runway success for La Mercy swallows, 10 November) are two major contributors to this, but how well known is it that tropical deforestation accounts for about 20% of all human-induced emissions every year? This is roughly the same volume of greenhouse gas emissions as produced by the USA or China. Seen in this light, protecting forests must become a priority in tackling climate change (Canada draws applause for protecting “Amazon of the North”, 22 November).
Planners and policy makers must now take into account future climatic changes in order to be effective (Latest proposals for CAP reform "fail the environment", 20 November). Without this planning, new legislation risks becoming redundant before even being implemented. The decisions that are made in the near future are going to have long term consequences for both the climate and for biodiversity (Lake Natron chemical plant: region’s ecotourism “jeopardised”, 26 November), and it is up to all of us to make our voices heard.
"monitoring of species and how and if they can adapt to a rapidly changing climate will be crucial in their ongoing protection and stemming the loss of biodiversity"
Habitats and their associated biodiversity provide important services that help regulate the climate, provide clean water, pollinate our crops and provide us with resources. These vital environments must continue to be protected and must not be sacrificed in our attempts to ameliorate climate change (Government of Cambodia declares Sarus Crane Reserve, 5 November).
The monitoring of species and how and if they can adapt to a rapidly changing climate will be crucial in their ongoing protection and stemming the loss of biodiversity (American WatchList revealed, 28 November). BirdLife will be at the forefront of this work (World's rarest bound together, 28 November) and will continue to provide the information and lobby to see the right decisions being made (Several new SPAs designated in Cyprus, 14 November).
Despite all the ‘doom and gloom’ there are still success stories in the face of overwhelming adversity (Conservationists “thrilled” as Kirtland’s Warbler returns to Canada, 30 November) and we are reminded that we can sometimes put right the wrongs we have caused (Kiwi glee at hatching hihi, 28 November). Yet lest we be complacent, thinking we can always fix things, it is also all too easy not to learn from our mistakes and to make the same ones twice (Vulture-killing drug licensed in Tanzania, 7 November).