“Species that are close to water will have to migrate”

Archive image of a sebadal on Las Canteras beach, in the capital of Gran Canaria. / C7

The tropicalization of the climate and the acidification of the seas put the sebadales and algae in the archipelago at risk

Louisa del Rosario

The Plan to Promote the Environment (PIME) Adapta Canarian Coasts presented by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning is the first part of an investigation that also takes into account how climate change affects flora and the fauna of the islands. «
Obviously climate change affects species. There are species that are close to the water today and will have to migrate to the interior of the islands and many of them may not be able to because cement and concrete will be found»affirms the president of the Scientific Committee of the Government of the Canary Islands for Climate Change, Circular and Blue Economy and researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Aridane González.

The tropicalization and acidification of the sea, a consequence of global warming and climate change, puts a high number of species "at risk". In fact, González affirms, "there are already species at risk such as sebadales and cytoseiras (brown algae) that have been in decline in recent years due to these effects, human activities such as works on the coasts and water discharges residues and pollutants", adds the researcher.

And on the contrary, «
the effects of climate change also include the proliferation of cyanobacteria. When an ecosystem is not healthy, it has different repercussions and the proliferation of harmful algae in the Canary Islands, the flourishing of harmful species, is one of the consequences”.

In the opinion of the expert, the Canary Islands must “stop emitting greenhouse gases. The minimum objective must be to reach neutrality, that you absorb the same thing that you emit ». But, in addition, "The Canary Islands must take many adaptation measures because that is unique for each territory," he points out, referring to the fact that
"Mitigation (of the effects of climate change) ultimately has a global impact, but adaptation has a local impact and the Canary Islands must deal with their special vulnerability due to the island event."

“There are measures to build in a coordinated way, a lot of attention has been paid to mitigation and adaptation has been left behind. From time to time adaptation measures are advocated. If we stop emitting greenhouse gases, we will continue to suffer the impact of climate change in the coming years and centuries. The adaptation measures are going to require efforts, constructions, modifications of the territory, the territory must be planned and infrastructures changed”, Aridane González abounds.

Terrestrial infrastructures

According to the report (PIME) Adapta Costas Canarias, the impact of climate change will affect the coasts of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote more, as well as the southeastern part of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Y
the rise in sea level in 2050 will force the relocation of at least 500 people, which will be more than 5,000 in 2100. Maritime storms, says the report, will pose a danger in 2050 to 1% of the population of the islands, a figure that will double half a century later.

It will also affect terrestrial infrastructure such as
power plants for energy supply and desalinationin addition to the fact that the impact of the rise in sea level that the model forecasts for 2050 and 2100 will flood roads and highways, especially in the eastern islands, which, due to their coastal topography, are more critical.

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