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The effects of biodiversity loss caused by climate change will be felt much more quickly and intensely than previously thought. As EcoWatch reported, a new study published in Nature showed that in a high-emissions scenario of more than 4° Celsius of warming by 2100, at least 15% of ecosystems would suffer an event in which more than 20% of their key species hit their temperature limits in the same decade.
However, this scenario is not a given, we have the ability to change course.
The Outlook: As the study authors explained in the Conversation, we’re already seeing some of the projected losses to biodiversity.
Abrupt biodiversity loss due to marine heatwaves that bleach coral reefs is already under way in tropical oceans.
The risk of climate change causing sudden collapses of ocean ecosystems is projected to escalate further in the 2030s and 2040s.
Under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, the risk of abrupt biodiversity loss is projected to spread onto land, affecting tropical forests and more temperate ecosystems by the 2050s.
But there is hope. If greenhouse emissions begin to be curbed at the Paris Agreement standards and more measures are taken to protect local ecology, then this frightening future can be avoided.
As Dr. Alex Pigot of University College of London’s Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, explained.
“Keeping global warming below 2°C effectively ‘flattens the curve’ of how this risk to biodiversity will accumulate over the century, providing more time for species and ecosystems to adapt to the changing climate – whether that’s by finding new habitats, changing their behavior, or with the help of human-led conservation efforts.”
By Will Gartshore, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s an old aphorism that still rings painfully true today. Long before Covid-19, the three deadliest pandemics in human history—the bubonic plague, Spanish influenza and HIV/AIDS—claimed more lives than all the […]
We know the permafrost in the Arctic is melting fast, but a new study finds that one of the reasons for its rapid decline may be that beavers are actually damming it up — literally. CNN reports that using satellite images scientists have observed that beavers are building dams way farther north than previously observed. […]
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, animals have enjoyed the freedom of a quieter world by venturing further into cities and suburbs. While this “anthropause” has made for thrilling YouTube videos, scientists have taken the opportunity to study the effects of human activity across geographic regions, ecosystems, their effect on species. Researchers have been tracking animal movements […]
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