LONDON — The world’s deserts are under threat as never before, with global warming making lack of water an even bigger problem for the parched regions, says a UN report released Monday. The first comprehensive look at deserts round the world said these areas, their wildlife and, most of all, their scarce water supplies are facing dramatic changes. ‘Deserts are the last great wildernesses and the Cinderellas of the conservation world – out of sight, out of mind,’ said Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program. ‘Everybody cares about the mountains. Everybody is worried about the oceans. … But nobody has really thought about the deserts before. They need help.’ Desert areas make up almost one-quarter of Earth’s surface – 33 million square kilometres – and are home to some 500 million people, more than previously thought. Most of the 12 desert regions whose future climate was studied face a drier future, the report said. Experts predicted that rainfall would drop as much as 20 per cent by the end of the century because of human-induced climate change. Compounding the threat is the melting of glaciers. A large portion of water used […]

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