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One in five of Europe’s bird species slipping towards extinction

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One in five of Europe’s bird species slipping towards extinction

The common swift, common snipe and rook are among species slipping towards extinction in Europe, according to the continent’s latest “red list” report, which finds that one in five bird species is now at risk.

From the Azores in the west to the Ural mountains in the east, birds that have been the cornerstones of European ecosystems are disappearing, according to the BirdLife International analysis, which is based on observations of 544 native bird species. Three species have become regionally extinct in Europe since the last report in 2015 – Pallas’s sandgrouse, common buttonquail and pine bunting.

In total, 30% of species assessed are showing population decline, according to observations from thousands of experts and volunteers working in 54 countries and territories. At a European level, 13% of birds are threatened with extinction and a further 6% are near threatened. “The results are alarming but we are not surprised,” said Anna Staneva, interim head of conservation, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia.

Key trends echo findings from the three previous publications of the red list, in 1994, 2004 and 2015, showing declines continuing unabated. The data is based on millions of observations made since 1980. “We’re running out of time, the clock is ticking. We don’t want to see the dramatic changes we’re seeing now happening in the next five or 10 years,” said Staneva.

The findings – which were collected in 2019 – are based on the IUCN red list categories and criteria applied at regional level. They corroborate conclusions from the State of Nature in the EU 2013-2018 report, which found only a quarter of species have good conservation status. Loss of habitat, intensification of agriculture, the overexploitation of resources, pollution and unsustainable forestry practices are driving declines, with the climate crisis a growing factor.

“These are big, large-scale threats which we call systemic threats, and they’re very much related to the way our society works and how we use resources,” said Staneva. “It’s a signal that something is seriously going wrong around us. We need to change the way we live, that is the key message coming from our results.”

The common swift is near threatened and rooks and common snipe are now considered vulnerable due to sharp declines since 2015 when they were listed as of least concern. For species to be placed in the near threatened category the population has to have declined by 25% over three generations. When declines are greater than 30% they enter the threatened category.

Staneva said it was a surprise to see such well-known species in big trouble. “There are probably lots of things each and every one of us can do in our daily life to change the way we consume natural resources, but obviously as active citizens probably the most important thing we can do is demand our politicians take action,” she said.

A species is regionally extinct if it has not been observed in Europe over a minimum period of five years. Two species that were believed extinct in 2015 – the Caspian plover and the Asian desert warbler – have since reappeared in Europe. For more than 50% of species living on rocky habitats such as inland cliffs and mountain peaks, there is not enough research to plot accurate population trends.

However, it is not all bad news. The recovery of the bittern, Azores bullfinch and griffon vulture show targeted action on species recovery can work. Certain raptors such as red kites are doing better thanks to the banning of pesticides such as DDT and legal protection against persecution.

A few species are currently benefiting from a warmer climate. The black-tailed godwit, for example, has moved from vulnerable to not threatened since 2015, and this is probably due to rising spring temperatures in Iceland, which holds about 47% of the European population. The 2020 European Breeding Bird Atlas (Ebba2) showed Mediterranean species such as the European bee-eater and little egret are now reaching the UK and other areas of northern Europe, mainly due to milder winters.

Martin Harper, regional director of BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, said he hoped the report would serve as a catalyst for more people and organisations to take action to protect Europe’s birds. “Governments across Europe need to translate the new global ambition to restore nature into legal targets, backed up by the right policies and funding,” he said.

The latest list will help inform on-the-ground conservation action and national and international environment policies. Recommendations from the report include creating a larger and better managed network of protected areas, consistent with the UN target of protecting 30% of land by 2030, with substantial areas under strict protection, such as “no take” marine protected areas and “no logging” forests.

Carbon-rich landscapes such as peatlands, grassland and forest which can deliver benefits for biodiversity and the climate should be prioritised, the report found, and efforts to sequester carbon should also aid biodiversity. In terms of funding, a key recommendation is to end perverse subsidies that harm nature and switch to an agricultural policy that supports wildlife-friendly farming.

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Environment

NiMet forecasts thunderstorms, cloudiness from Tues to Thursday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted thunderstorms and cloudiness from Tuesday to Thursday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Monday in Abuja, forecasts morning thunderstorms on Tuesday over parts of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Yobe and
Gombe states.

It envisaged thunderstorms over parts of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Bauchi, Katsina and Taraba states later in the day.

“Partly cloudy conditions are expected over the central regions during the morning hours with prospects of afternoon/evening thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa and Kwara states.

“Cloudy skies are expected over the
southern region during the morning hours with prospects of afternoon/evening rains over part of Ondo, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Ekiti, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Lagos states,” it said.

According to NiMet, early morning thunderstorms are expected over parts of Taraba, Adamawa and Kebbi
states on Wednesday.

It further anticipated thunderstorm over parts of Taraba, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi and Kaduna later on Wednesday. .

“Early morning thunderstorms are anticipated over
parts of Kwara and Kogi states while later in the day, thunderstorms are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau and Nasarawa states.

“Morning rains are anticipated over parts of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa states, while later in the day, rains are expected over most parts of the southern region,” it said.

NiMet predicted morning thunderstorms on Thursday over parts of Taraba state and thunderstorms over Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Kano states later in the day.

It envisaged thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau and Nasarawa states early in the morning.

The agency predicted thunderstorms over the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Kogi and Nasarawa states later in the day.

NiMet forecasts cloudy skies over the southern region during the morning hours with rains over the entire region later in the day.

“Strong winds may precede the rains in areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur, public should take adequate precaution.

“Airline operators are advised to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

(NAN)

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Environment

Africa loses $15bn annually to climate change — AfDB president

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says Africa loses between seven billion dollars and 15 billion dollars annually due to climate change.

The President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said this during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which was monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to him, this is in spite contributing only three per cent of global emissions.

Adesina said that Africa was at the forefront of climate change’s impacts, which had devastating effects on agriculture and economies.

“In response, the AfDBank has inaugurated ambitious initiatives to build resilience and adapt to a changing climate.

“The AfDB has committed to doubling its climate finance to 25 billion dollars by 2030, focusing on the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme.

“This programme aims to deploy 25 billion dollars for climate adaptation, making it the largest globally.

“Additionally, the AfDB has created a climate action window with an initial investment of 429 million dollars, expected to grow to 13 billion dollars,’’ he said.

Adesina said this window supports vulnerable countries with crop insurance, land restoration, and climate information services.

He said Innovative financial mechanisms played a crucial role in supporting these climate adaptation initiatives.

Adesina said the bank had begun using partial credit guarantees, which enabled countries like Benin, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire to raise significant capital at lower interest rates.

“For example, Benin raised 400 million dollars from Chinese investors using a 195 million dollar partial credit guarantee.

“The AfDB also facilitated Egypt’s Panda Bond issuance, allowing the country to secure 500 million dollars from Chinese markets.

“These financial innovations reduce the cost of borrowing for African countries and encourage long-term investments in climate resilience.

“In spite of the challenges posed by climate change, Africa is leading the charge in innovative solutions and sustainable development,’’ he said.

The AfDB boss, therefore, said that the global financial architecture was not serving Africa’s interests very well, thus requiring change.

On Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), he said the bank was championing the course on the need for Africa to take those SDRs and use them better. (NAN)

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Environment

NiMET forecasts 3-day of sunshine, cloudiness

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, has predicted sunshine and cloudiness from Monday to Wednesday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook, released on Sunday in Abuja, forecasts sunny skies on Monday, with patches of clouds over the northern region and morning thunderstorms over parts of Taraba, Adamawa and Borno states.

“Later in the afternoon/evening period, thunderstorms are expected over parts of Zamfara, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Taraba and Adamawa.

“Cloudy skies with sunshine intervals are anticipated over the North Central region with chances of morning thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa states.

“Later in the day, thunderstorms are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi and Benue states,” the NiMet forecast stated.

According to the agency, a cloudy atmosphere is expected over the southern states, with prospects of morning rains over parts of Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

It anticipated thunderstorms over the entire region later in the day.

The agency envisaged patches of clouds on Tuesday with sunshine intervals over the northern part, with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Taraba states.

According to the forecast: “Later in the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa and Jigawa states.

“Patches of clouds with sunshine intervals are expected over the North Central region, with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Kwara and Niger states during the morning hours.

“Later in the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Kogi, Benue and Niger states.”

NiMet predicted a cloudy atmosphere over the southern states, with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states during the morning hours.

It expects rain over most parts of the region later in the day.

“On Wednesday, sunny atmosphere with patches of clouds are anticipated over the northern region, with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Borno, Taraba and Adamawa states during the afternoon/evening hours.

“Patches of clouds with sunshine intervals are expected over the North Central region, with prospects of thunderstorms expected over parts of Plateau, the Federal Capital Territory, Niger, Kwara and Nasarawa states during the afternoon/evening hours.

“Cloudy atmosphere is expected over the Southern states during the morning period. Later in the day, rains are expected over the entire region,” NiMet forecast.

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