By: CHRIS GRAEME
PORTUGAL COULD be one of the countries worst affected by climatic change and biodiversity loss, warned the Portuguese environmental association Quercus.
Quercus said that Portugal could become increasingly vulnerable to droughts in the summer, floods and persistent rain storms in the winter, desertification in the Alentejo and Algarve regions and widespread forest fires.
On International Biodiversity Day (May 22), Quercus said that Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula was losing flora and fauna at a rate never before seen in the history of the planet since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago.
It blamed a rise in world temperatures caused by green house gas emissions, increased pollution and smog from cars and industry, leading to a loss in habitats, invasion of creatures and plants that do not belong to the Iberian ecosystem, and man’s destruction of natural habitats through construction.
The Iberian ecosystem is among those most vulnerable in the world because of a rise in temperatures between two and five degrees Celsius. Equally worrying for Portugal is the reduction in annual rainfall levels with its impact on hydroelectric power stations reliant on water to generate power.
In Europe, a rise in sea levels could reach as much as 20 to 50 per cent over the average from the melting of glaciers, mountain snow and polar caps caused by global warming, with devastating long-term consequences for coastal cities such as Lisbon.
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