The story appears on

Page A12

March 18, 2018

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sunday » Technology

Global warming extinction threat

GLOBAL warming could place 25 to 50 percent of species in the Amazon, Madagascar and other biodiverse areas at risk of localized extinction within decades, a report said.

The lower projection is based on a mercury rise of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial revolution levels — the warming ceiling the world’s nations agreed on in 2015. 

The highest is for out-of-control warming of 4.5°C.

The report focused on 33 so-called “priority places” which host some of the world’s richest and most unusual terrestrial species, including iconic, endangered, or endemic plants and animals.

The team looked at the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 terrestrial plant, mammal, bird, amphibian, and reptile species.

At warming of 4.5°C, based on a “business-as-usual” scenario of no emissions cuts, the Amazon could risk the local extinction of 69 percent of its plant species. 

The Miombo Woodlands risks losing 90 percent of its amphibians, 86 percent of birds and 80 percent of mammals, according to the report.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries made voluntary pledges to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

But even if those pledges are met, scientists predict warming over 3°C, a recipe for disastrous climate change-triggered sea level rises, super storms, floods and droughts.

Warming of 3.2°C would place about 37 percent of species in Priority Places at risk of local extinction, said the WWF.

Limiting warming to 2°C would enable many species to continue inhabiting the areas they currently occupy.

And if animals can move freely — not constrained by roads, fences, or human settlements — the proportion of species at extinction risk at warming of 2°C drops from 25 to 20 percent.

Extinction is not simply about the disappearance of species, said the WWF, “but about profound changes to ecosystems that provide vital services to hundreds of millions of people.”

Job and revenue-generating tourism would suffer greatly if species disappear, and as-yet-undiscovered medicines from plants forever lost.

“Put simply, we have to stop burning fossil fuels,” said the WWF.



Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend