In 2004 a group of biologists published an estimate of
extinctions risk from climate change.
"The midrange estimate is that 24 percent of plants
and animals will be committed to extinction by 2050," said the first
author. "We're not talking about the occasional extinction.
We're talking about 1.25 million species. It's a massive number."
Here is the abstract
Click here for the full article.
It is estimated there are about 14 million species on Earth, of which
about 1.6 million have been identified. Thomas seems to be saying that at least 2.5 million
species (18% of 14 million) are going to become extinct as a result of a 0.8-1.7
degree Celsius global temperature rise. Since not all species have the sort of
limited habitat that prevents them migrating, perhaps it’s somewhat less
than that. Thomas himself seems to think 1.25 million species (see quote
However, we had a 0.6 degree temperature rise in the 20th century, at least half of it in the first half of the century, so we should be seeing some species extinctions attributed to climate change by now.
After all tens of
thousands of biologists, ecologists and assorted doomsayers like Thomas and his
colleagues are jetting round the world every year looking for them. You would
expect them to have found some. And indeed they have. Precisely one – the golden toad, Bufo
periglenes from the Tilarin Mountains of north-western Costa Rica.
If a 0.6 degree global temperature rise over 100 years has
yielded one species extinction attributable to climate change, I’m going to
relax about the
extinction risk from a 0.8-1.7 degree rise.
The researchers called for "rapid implementation of technologies" to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. iGreens would not go that far - we think a moratorium on flights to species-extinction conferences would be adequate. Let them wind each other up by phone.
 "Extinction Risk from Climate Change." Thomas et al. Nature 427, 145–148. January 8, 2004.
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