Wildfires will be more frequent, larger and intense due to climate change: UNEP

What is the News?

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released its latest Annual Frontiers Report.

About Annual Frontiers Report

This is the fourth edition of the Frontiers Report. The first one was first published in 2016.

FocusThe report identifies three issues: 1) Urban noise pollution, 2) wildfires and 3) phenological shifts. The report urges the need for urgent attention to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

What are the key highlights from the report?
Noise Pollution

Unwanted, prolonged and high-level sounds from road traffic, railways or leisure activities, impair human health and well-being.

Noise pollution also threatens animals by altering the communication and behavior of various species including birds, insects and amphibians.

Recommendation: Urban planners must prioritize noise reduction by investing in urban infrastructure that creates positive soundscapes such as tree belts, green walls, and more green spaces in cities.

Phenological Shifts
Note: Phenology is the study of periodic events in biological life cycles and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation).

Plants and animals in terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems use temperature, day length or rainfall as cues for when to bear fruit, migrate or transform in other ways. However, climate change is disrupting these natural rhythms.

Recommendation: Maintaining suitable habitats and ecological connectivity, strengthening the integrity of biological diversity and coordinating international efforts along migratory routes.

Wildfires

Between 2002 and 2016, an average of 423 million hectares of the Earth’s land surface – about the size of the European Union – burned, projecting that dangerous wildfires will likely become more frequent, intense and longer-lasting, including in areas previously unaffected by fires.

Recommendation: Greater investment in reducing wildfire risks; developing prevention and response management approaches; and refinancing remote sensing capabilities, such as satellites and radar.

Source: This post is based on the article “Wildfires will be more frequent, larger and intense due to climate change: UNEP” published in Down To Earth on 22nd February 2022.

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