Climate change will hit ‘endemic’ plants and animals the hardest, study warns
Plants and animals that only live in one region – known as “endemic” species – are expected to be “consistently more adversely impacted” by climate change than their less specialised counterparts, new research shows.
The synthesis study, published in Biological Conservation, finds that more than 90% of endemic species will face negative consequences – such as reduced populations – if global warming reaches 3C above pre-industrial levels. However, it adds that invasive species are expected to see overall neutral or positive impacts from the warming climate.
This trend could allow “generalist and widespread opportunists” to replace endemic species, the study warns, leading to a drop in biodiversity.
The study also calculates extinction risks at different warming levels. It finds that 2% of endemic species are at risk of extinction if warming is limited to 1.5C, and 4% are at risk at 2C. However, the risk rises to 20% for land-based ecosystems, and to 32% in marine ecosystems if warming hits 3C.
“We were really surprised at how much more we expect to lose with such little increases in average temperature,” an author on the study tells Carbon Brief, adding that “following the Paris agreement [warming limits] would make a huge difference for our biodiversity worldwide”.
Using more than 8,000 projections from scientific papers, the authors analyse the risk of climate change to species in 273 “irreplaceable” hotspots of “exceptional biodiversity”.
The authors group species into three categories – “endemic”, “non-endemic native” and “introduced” species – based on where they typically live.#globalwarming #climatechange #carboncompensation #bluesky #climateemergency #climatecrisis #blueskye #blueskyefoundation #compensate #greentechexchange #zerocarbon #climatenews #blueskyelife #elonmusk #billgates #greentech #nasa #nasaclimate #greenfacts
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