More than half of common species of plants and a third of animal species are likely to see their living space halved by 2080 on current trends of carbon emissions, a climate study said on Sunday.
Output of man-made greenhouse gases is putting Earth on track for four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by 2100 compared with the pre-industrial 18th century, it said.
The unprecedented speed of warming will be a shock for many species, as it will badly affect the climatic range in which they can live, it warned.
Investigators from Britain’s University of East Anglia looked at 48,786 species and measured how their range would be affected according to models of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Fifty-five percent of plants and 35 percent of animals could see their living space halved by 2080 at current emission growth for CO2, they found. The figures take into account the species’ ability to migrate into habitat that may open up as a result of warming.
This is a greatly conservative estimate. The other end of the spectrum is that 80 years from now, Earth will be largely a wasteland with a broken ecosystem, and humanity is going to have tremendous difficulty even surviving. That's not taking into account the massive superstorms that will pound the planet as a direct result of climate change.
We're decades past being able to save ourselves. It's now a question of how bad we'll let it get. The answer appears to be "an unabated march to catastrophe."