If nations do not dramatically improve their carbon offsets made under the 2015 Paris climate treaty, the planet’s richest concentrations of animal and plant life will be irreversibly destroyed by global warming, scientists have warned. Friday.
An analysis of 8,000 published species risk assessments showed a high risk of extinction at nearly 300 biodiversity hotspots, on land and at sea, if temperatures rise three degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, they reported in the journal. Biological conservation.
The Earth’s surface has so far heated up to 1C and the Paris Agreement orders nations to heat the cap “far below” 2C, and 1.5C if possible.
National commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, assuming they are honorable, will still see temperatures much higher than 3C by the end of the century, if not sooner.
So-called endemic plant species and animals found exclusively in a specific location will be hit hardest in a warming world.
From snow leopards in the Himalayas and orange vaquita in the Gulf of California to lemurs in Madagascar and forest elephants in Central Africa, many of the planet’s most beloved creatures will end up on a path to extinction if humanity does not stop charging the atmosphere with CO2 and methane, the study found.
Endemic soil species in biodiversity hotspots are almost three times more likely to suffer losses due to climate change than the more prevalent flora and fauna and 10 times more than invasive species.
Trapped in a closed sea
“Climate change threatens areas overcrowded with species that can not be found anywhere else in the world,” said lead author Stella Manes, a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
“The risk of such species being lost forever increases more than 10 times if we lose the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
More and more scientists agree that global warming coverage at the 1.5C target is probably unattainable.
But every tenth of a degree matters when it comes to avoiding influences, they say.
Some concentrations of wildlife are more vulnerable than others.
In mountainous regions, 84 percent of endemic animals and plants face extinction in a 3C world, while in islands already devastated by invasive species the figure rises to 100 percent.
“By nature, these species can not move easily in more favorable environments,” explained co-author Mark Costello, a marine ecologist from the University of Aukland.
Marine species in the Mediterranean are particularly endangered because they are trapped in a closed sea, he added.
In general, more than 90 percent of land-based endemic species and 95 percent of marine species will be adversely affected if the Earth warms two more degrees, the international team of researchers found.
Safe shelters not so safe
In the tropics, two out of three species may become extinct only due to climate change.
The findings may prompt conservationists to rethink how best to protect endangered wildlife.
So far, the main threats have been habitat loss due to the expansion of urban areas, mining and agriculture, on the one hand, and hunting for food and body parts to be sold on the black market, on the other.
A key strategy in the face of this attack has been carving in protected areas, especially around biodiversity hotspots.
But these safe havens can be of little use in the face of global warming.
“Unfortunately, our study shows that those biodiversity-rich spots will not be able to act as species shelters from climate change,” said co-author Mariana Vale, also from Federal University.
Even before the impact of global warming really began, scientists have concluded that the Earth is at the beginning of a so-called mass extinction event, in which species are disappearing at 100 to 1,000 normal rates, or “backgrounds.”
There have been five previous mass extinctions in the last 500 million years.
Reducing global warming issues for freshwater fish species
citation: Biodiversity hotspots destroyed in the heating world (2021, April 9) Retrieved April 9, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-biodiversity-hot-devastated-world.html
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