Global warming confuses nature

The flora and fauna in Germany are reacting to rising temperatures

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Numerous animal and plant species are now responding to climate change and the rising temperatures of recent decades. This is what Greenpeace has pointed out and called for to take these signals seriously. If the increase in temperature is too strong, there is a risk that many species can no longer adapt and become extinct, according to the environmental organization.


"Anyone taking a walk now sees the consequences of climate change everywhere. The apple trees start to bloom earlier, the great tits start breeding sooner and the beech trees develop their leaves sooner. Nature tries to adapt. But the question is: how much warming can nature still sustain? "Asks Christian Bussau, Greenpeace biologist. Scientists assume that climate change will get out of control if the temperature increases by more than two degrees, and the consequences for humans, animals and plants will become unmanageable.

Flowers are more likely to go up

On Heligoland it is observed in spring that bird species like redstart, garden warbler and fitis (a songbird) reach the island about a week earlier than they did forty years ago. As the redstart migrates to the south about half a week later in autumn, it stays around one and a half weeks longer in Germany.

Bird species that have their main area of ​​distribution in the south, such as little egrets and bee-eaters, penetrate further north with the warming. On the other hand, species such as the snow ammunition become too warm, they dodge to the north and become rarer here. Even with the plants, changes can be detected. Apple trees, snowdrops, black elder and summer linden always start to blossom sooner. display

Around 1960, the beginnings of apple blossom in Germany at the beginning of May, but in recent years they begin to bloom about a week earlier, the end of April. The Black Elderberry is also seen to flower around ten days earlier than in 1960. The beech trees unfolded their leaves ten days earlier in the last decade than they did 40 years ago.

40 percent less greenhouse gases by 2020?

Since the North Sea and Baltic Sea have also become warmer in recent decades, cold-water fish such as cod and haddock are moving further and further north, whereas warm-water fish such as sardines and anchovies can penetrate from southern seas. Bussau: "Animal and plant species react much more strongly to global warming than we humans do. Still succeeds some animal and plant species adapt. But if the warming continues to intensify, then many of the species will disappear from Germany. "

Since the relationships in a habitat are extremely diverse and complicated, it is not possible to estimate exactly what effects climate change will have. However, it is very likely that many species will not adapt if the temperature increase is not stopped. Greenpeace demands that Germany emit 40 percent less greenhouse gases by 2020. If all countries around the world join in, the temperature rise could be kept below two degrees.

(Greenpeace, 26.04.2007 - DLO)