"Blue Tongue, Blight, Beetles Pester A Warmer World"

"Beetles killing trees in North America, blue tongue disease ravaging livestock in Europe, and borers destroying African coffee crops are examples of migrating invasive species not getting enough attention at global climate talks, scientists said on Wednesday.

Invasive pests have plagued agriculture and nature for thousands of years as mankind's migrations brought them to places without natural enemies. But the price tag to battle them, now estimated at $1.4 trillion annually, may go up as rising temperatures and more storms and floods unleash species to new areas.

"The problem of invasive species has been all but omitted from the U.N. talks here in Mexico," A.G. Kawamura, the secretary of California's Department of Food and Agriculture, told Reuters.

He said scientists want to reintroduce the issue of invasive insects, germs and plants so at next year's talks in Durban, South Africa, pests will be a top subject."

Timothy Gardner reports for Reuters December 10, 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2010