CMS Warns Against Climate Change Catastrophe for Migratory Species

24 June 2010: According to the preliminary findings of research undertaken by the Zoological Society of London for the UN Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS), species such as turtles and whales are exceptionally vulnerable to climate change.

The study, commissioned by the UNEP/CMS Secretariat, aims to identify how climate change is likely to affect individual migratory species and the degree of threat that they face. The first wave of assessments has focused on species that undergo cyclic and predictable long-distance migrations, with the final study due to be completed in summer 2010. A leaflet titled "Climate Change Impacts on Migratory Species - the Path Ahead" summarizes the emerging results from an assessment of CMS Appendix I species, in order to provide early guidance to policy makers. Preliminary findings show that even the subtle changes in environmental conditions that could be caused by climate change could have catastrophic consequences for migratory animals.

The preliminary findings and actions needed to avert disaster for migratory species were discussed on 24 June 2010, in a series of talks launching the new book "Survival: Saving Endangered Migratory Species," authored by CMS Ambassador Stanley Johnson and Robert Vagg. An executive summary of the project has also been submitted as an information document to the 16th meeting of the CMS Scientific Council, which is convening from 28-30 June 2010, in Bonn, Germany. [CMS Press Release] [Executive Summary on the Report's Findings] [Climate Change Impacts on Migratory Species - the Path Ahead Leaflet]