Tropical forests may dry out and become vulnerable to devastating wildfires as global warming accelerates over the coming decades, a senior scientist has warned.
Soaring greenhouse gas emissions, driven by a surge in coal use in countries such as China and India, are threatening temperature rises that will turn damp and humid forests into parched tinderboxes, said Dr Chris Field, co-chair of the UN's Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Higher temperatures could see wildfires raging through the tropics and a large scale melting of the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere that will accelerate warming even further, he said.
It doesn't look too good for the sea either
Global warming is changing the distribution, abundance and diversity of marine life in the polar seas with "profound" implications for creatures further up the food chain, according to scientists involved in the most comprehensive study of life in the oceans ever conducted.
These are but two of a plethora of threats to the environment which presumably will inform the UN conference - COP 15 - in Copenhagen this December. The conference will be looking at a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
I'll be giving a socialist perspective on issues and stories all year, so watch this space!