Recently projected climate changes could have widespread effects on wildlife species. These effects might be positive or negative, depending on the species. Some effects might include extinction, range shifts, mismatches in phenology (timing of pollination, flowering, etc.), and population changes. If the effects of climate change are widespread, there is uncertainty on how wildlife will adapt. Some suggest that evolution and migration will enable species to adapt, whereas others contend that adaptation will be minimal because of limited habitat, and changes in climate that may occur may rapidly than adaptation can respond.
In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008-2012. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally.
At least one recent report and numerous news articles suggest that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are rising more rapidly than expected. While CO2 emissions associated with human activities continue to rise -- and may be worthy of alarm because of their influence on climate change -- any short-term comparisons between actual emissions and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios miss the mark. This report analyzes this issue and the issues associated with IPCC scenarios and trajectories. It also describes the importance of monitoring CO2 emissions and analyzing the factors and forces behind increasing CO2 emissions.