Environment at Risk

By George Grow

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

The World Wide Fund For Nature has released a report about the effects of global warming on the world's environment. The report says warmer weather on Earth could cause major environmental changes by the end of this century. It warns the changes could cause some kinds of plants and animals to disappear.

The new findings are based on a moderate estimate of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Factories, vehicles and other human activities produce carbon dioxide and other gases. Many scientists blame these gases for warmer weather on Earth. Scientists believe they trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere. This effect is known as global warming.

The World Wide Fund For Nature says the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could increase during this century. It says action is needed to limit the use of coal, oil and gas for energy production.

The report warns that thirty-five percent of the Earth's environment could be changed in the next one-hundred years. Most loss of plants and animals is caused by the destruction of their habitat - the natural areas where they live. The report says global warming is expected to be fastest in parts of Canada, Russia and northern Europe. It says as much as seventy percent of the habitat there could be lost.

The report says Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden are likely to lose forty-five percent or more of their habitat because of the rising temperatures. Similar losses are expected in Bhutan, Kyrgystan, Latvia, Mongolia and Uruguay. The report says many plants or animals in coastal areas or on islands will be at risk from warming oceans, rising sea levels and other changes.

Adam Markham helped write the report. He notes that global warming will pressure plants and animals to move to safer living areas. He is concerned that some creatures will not be able to move fast enough to survive.

The report says rare plants or animals and those separated from other animals face the greatest risk.

Jennifer Morgan of the World Wide Fund For Nature says wildlife around the world may suffer if government leaders do not act to stop global warming. She says they must take steps to prevent conditions that would change the world as we know it.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by George Grow. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English