May 01, 2015
Many studies have warned of global warming's potential impact on varying animal and plant species, but now, a scientist has consolidated the data and research and has created a snapshot of what the world could look like if we keep going at our current state.
"One out of every six species could face extinction if global warming continues on its current path," Tim McDonnell writes at Mother Jones.
The study, published in Science Magazine, was conducted by Mark Urban, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut. He analyzed 131 scientific papers for clues about how climate change is affecting the overall rate of species extinction.
His research found that one out of every six species could face extinction if global warming continues on its current path – and humans are largely to blame.
“Never before has one species been responsible for the demise of so many others,” McDonnell writes at Mother Jones.
"Even species not threatened directly by extinction could experience substantial changes in abundances, distributions, and species interactions, which in turn could affect ecosystems and their services to humans," Urban writes.
Urban’s research also predicts the geographic areas where species are at greatest risk of extinction from climate change.
The picture has the potential to be less dire if we manage to curb climate change, the study notes.
Read the full study here.