Climate change poses an immediate challenge to the European Union target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, according to a report from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
The study found that there was already strong scientific evidence of the impact of climate change on wild plants and animals in Europe. It warns that during the 21st century, rapidly shifting climate zones and rising sea levels will put increasing pressure on species already under threat for other reasons.
Wild plants and animals will die out in some places unless they can keep pace with the rapidly changing climate, the report says. While some mobile species can do this, others, which are less mobile, will find it more difficult.
The report urges a more integrated approach to conservation in Europe and highlights a concern that biodiversity may suffer a double whammy because of other responses to climate change such as increased demand for water, leading to the drying out of rivers and wetlands.