More than half of the world’s forest wildlife could be extinct by the end of the century.
Climate change could destroy many of the plants and animals that live inside the world’s most naturally rich places, according to a new study from the World Wildlife Fund.
Rising temperatures and extreme weather are expected to have a devastating effect on nearly 80,000 species in 35 of the most biodiverse areas, including the Amazon, Madagascar, southwest Australia, Galapagos islands and the Caribbean. The study was published in Climate Change.
“Hotter days, longer periods of drought and more intense storms are becoming the new normal, and species around the world are already feeling the effects,” said Nikhil Advani, WWF’s lead climate specialist.
The study examined three possible futures if global temperatures continue to increase: the two degrees Celsius considered the current threshold in the Paris Climate Agreement, the 3.2 Celsius increase the UN has warned for the end of the century and the 4.5 degrees Celsius increase predicted if current carbon emissions remain the same.
In the Amazon, 50 percent of wildlife and 60 percent of plant life will be wiped out if global temperatures rise 3.2 degrees Celsius. If global temperatures were to rise 4.5 degrees Celsius, up to 80 percent of mammals in Africa’s Miombo Woodlands could go extinct.
Increased average temperatures are expected to diminish rainfall in the Mediterranean, Cerrado-Patanal in Argentina and Madagascar, threatening the water supplies of African elephants, among other species. And rising sea levels could submerge the breeding grounds of tigers along the Sundarbans, along the coast of India and Bangladesh.
“If global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, this could be reduced to 25 percent,” said Rachel Warren, the report’s lead researcher. “Limiting warming to within 1.5°C was not explored, but would be expected to protect even more wildlife.”
Courtesy: New York Post