Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mass Extinction In Progress

Next time someone tells you climate change is good for us (yes, it's hard to believe, but there are people that really do say that), point them to one of the reports on a study showing climate change, if it continues the way it is, will lead to an extinction of one-sixth of all species on the planet. This study is not by itself. It is in agreement with previous studies on the subject.
“All the studies are in pretty good agreement: The more warming we have, the more species we’ll lose,” says Dov Sax, a conservation biologist at Brown University who was not involved in the work. “This is really important to know, from a policy viewpoint.”
Mark Urban, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, Storrs did a very impressive analysis of previous studies to reach his results. There have been a number of studies done and have reached a wide-range of conclusions. Urban compared the studies to find a consensus from the data. He used only the results of studies that had assessed extinction risks for more than one species, 131 studies in total. Then he worked the details, to compare apples to apples, and examined factors such as the regions in which the studies had examined, the types of species involved in the studies, if those species were limited to one small region or were widely dispersed, and whether the species were free to move as climate changed or were blocked by barriers such as mountain ranges, deforestation, or urban development. Finally, he weighted the results of the studies to give more statistical importance to those that assessed extinction risks for larger numbers of species.

That is an impressive amount of analysis.

He found 2.8% of species are currently at risk of going extinct due to the amount of climate change that has already occurred. If the global temperature eventually holds steady at a 2 C increase, the percentage increases to 5.2%. If the temperature increases to the 4.3 degree increase that is being projected, the percentage increases to about 18% of all species - one in six.

So, please explain to me how wiping out one species in six will be good for us.

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