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1 IN 6 OF PLANET’S SPECIES RISKS EXTINCTION DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The rate of species facing extinction increases with every extra degree of global warming.

According to a report published in the journal Science, global warming is posing a significant threat on the world’s biodiversity. In fact, in line with the UN climate science bureau forecasts, the planet is now on track to warm 4.3°C by 2100, which would cause the extinction of 16% of the world’s species.

The species that are not at risk of extinction would suffer as well, as the rise in temperatures – and the consequent increase of heatwaves, droughts and floods – will alter the habitats and reduce the population size.

The extinction rate will rise even if countries manage to keep global warming within 2°C, as they pledged within the UNFCCC framework, but in that case it could be lowered to 5.2% (2.8% more than today’s level). One thing that is certain is that extinctions induced by climate change will keep increasing if states do not act immediately to limit future climate change and avoid further repercussions on the planet’s well being.

The study combined 131 predictions for multiple species, and South America resulted to be the region with the highest level of endangered species (with a 23% risk of extinction), followed by Australia and New Zealand (14%); North America and Europe, on the other hand, have the lowest risk rate (respectively 5% and 6%).

The WWF had already highlighted that human-induced environmental changes – such as destruction of habitat, increased acidification of the oceans and rising temperatures – have intensified the extinction rates by 1,000 to 10,000 times compared to natural levels.

 

The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 1 May 2015

(Source: RTCC)