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Global warming will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by end of century: Study

Global extinction risks will increase from 2.8 percent at present to 5.2 percent at the international policy target of a 2°C post-industrial rise and thus there is urgent need to take strong action to limit further climate change.

May 2, 2015 18:17 IST
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Global warming phenomenon will lead to extinction of 1 in 6 species by the end of century if the emission of carbon dioxide stays the same. This was revealed by a study titled Accelerating extinction risk from climate change published in the Journal Science on 1 May 2015.

The author of the study is Mark C. Urban of Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, US. The study highlighted the urgency of taking strong action to address climate change.

Main Findings of the Study

  • The future global extinction risk from climate change will not only increase but accelerate as global temperatures rise.
  • Global extinction risks will increase from 2.8 percent at present to 5.2 percent at the international policy target of a 2°C post-industrial rise.
  • Overall, 7.9 percent of species are predicted to become extinct from climate change.
  • If the global temperature increases to 3°C, the extinction risk will increase to 8.5 percent.
  • If we follow our current, business-as-usual trajectory climate change threatens one in six species, that is, 16 percent of species will become extinct.
  • North America and Europe are the regions that have the lowest extinction risk.
  • Extinction risks in South America, Australia and New Zealand is the highest and in the later two regions it will be further exacerbated by small land masses that limit shifts to new habitat.
  • Endemic species with smaller ranges and certain taxonomic groups such as amphibians and reptiles will face greater extinction risks. The endemic species will face a 6 percent greater extinction risk.

Thus, the author calls for urgent need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions.

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