According to new research by the University of Arizona, 1 in 3 plants and animals will face extinction as a direct result of climate change in the next 50 years. However, this is only based on current emission levels. In reality, it could get far worse.
Climate change is very likely to be the next mass extinction event Earth will face. These are events that wipe out a large portion of living species in a very short amount of time. For example, the last mass extinction event was 66 million years ago when the dinosaurs were all but eliminated.
However, this event can still be prevented.
Results of the Research
The researchers looked at a sample of 538 plant and animal species. Out of them, 44% had already seen extinction in a normal habitat.
The extinction of these species occurred even though there was only a very small change in the mean annual temperature. Which has lead researchers to believe that this is not a good judge of climate change.
Based on the data, it was estimated that 57%-70% of species would not be able to leave their current habitat to find a new one.
Lowering Emissions Can Stop Climate Change
The cause of climate change is due to the emission of greenhouse gases. These are gases that trap heat on our planet, which causes the temperature to rise. Many nations and businesses are working hard to lower emissions and in some case eliminate them completely.
The same research determined that if we were able to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5C by the end of the century, the number of plants and animals that go extinct would be nearly cut in half.
However, the likelihood of humanity achieving this is getting lower every year. Nations are simply not doing enough to lower emissions. And to make matters worse, the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, will be leaving the agreement.
This by itself will make it nearly impossible to achieve the climate goals.