The spur of recent Industrial revolutions have benefitted our world with once-unimaginable innovations, but have left behind fatal amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Greenhouse gases, such as CO2, are gases that specifically contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing radiation. The greenhouse effect, caused by overwhelming amounts of such gases, is when the atmosphere traps the Sun’s heat, warming up our planet increasingly over time. Science has proven that heavy emissions are directly related to climate change and global warming. Global warming leads to severe consequences on many, if not all, aspects of our world. For example, climate change can lead to thawing of glacial masses, flooding of islands and coastal cities, more severe hurricanes, desertification of fertile areas, impact on agriculture and livestock, and migration of species.
One of the most detrimental effects of global warming, arguably, would be the extinction of species. According to recent news, many animal species are facing near extinction. For example, snow leopards in the Himalayas, elephants in Africa, and lemurs of Madagascar are some of the notable species at risk right now. Not only would these animals go extinct, but it would also negatively affect biodiversity as well as plants, due to our planet’t innate complexity.
From a study by the Biological Conservation journal, experts revealed that heaviest concentrations of life (animals and plants) would be facing “irreversibly ravaged” damages from climate change unless real and effective efforts were conducted. The scientists stated great danger of extinction for approximately three hundred concentrations of biodiversity, also termed as “hot spots” in the study. This would continue to exacerbate if global temperatures increased by three degrees Celsius.
In reference to the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty, an agreement of efforts to prevent climate change by the United Nations, such countries and their leaders made a pact to stabilize the continuous heating “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. However, reality shows that our planet will reach the three degree Celsius increase by the end of the century, if no severe actions are taken in addition to the climate treaty.
Researchers are reporting that endemic species–“plants and animals found exclusively in specific locations, like one country or one island”– are at most risk for total extinction. This would include the snow leopards from the Himalayas and the elephants from central Africa. Endemic species are at ten times more risk of extinction that invasive species due to the small concentrated population numbers.
Within the endemic species risk, experts also showed how that mountainous species will face 84% extinction while island species will face 100% extinction, if the planet warms up to two degrees Celsius higher. By statistics, overall, at least 90% of land-based endemic animals and 95% of marine species will be altered, on average.
“By nature, these species cannot easily move to more favorable environments,” says author Mark Costello of the journal study. This is due to the natural adaptation of ecosystems and the complexity of biodiversity balances between habitat and food sources.
Predictions by experts are looking grim: they expect two out of three tropic species to go extinct just from climate change itself. They also predict that “safe havens”–specific areas conservationists have been protecting– will prove to be useless overall. The lack of action and initiative of the world and leaders are all leading to the downfall of the planet, which will soon come back to haunt humans as well.
“Climate change threatens areas overflowing with species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world,” said co-author Stella Manes. “The risk for such species to be lost forever increases more than 10-fold if we miss the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Experts and scientists explained how every small increase, even to the tenth of a degree Celsius, will matter to the whole climate change and its consequences.
“The 2020 increase is likely to remain one of the largest in the entire record.” reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
As civil citizens of our country and world, we can individually watch and monitor our greenhouse gas emissions, which is most commonly CO2 for human daily usage. Many people have altered their lifestyles to solar powering and electronic cars. Every bit counts as we must do everything we can to reverse, or pause at minimum, the impeding climate crisis, before it is too late.