Climate Change & Species

The rise in global mean temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are putting many species at an increased risk of extinction.

Driven primarily by the human production of greenhouse gases, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified that global mean temperatures are rising to 2 or 3oC above preindustrial levels. This warming has been linked to a decline in the population numbers of some species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments and it is thought that 20-30% of plant and animal species are likely to be at an increased risk of extinction.

Changing weather patterns and rising sea levels are also affecting species globally with some regions affected more by climate change than others. The response of a species to these changes depends on its life history, ecology, behavior, physiology and genetic makeup and some are more susceptible than others. It has been estimated that 35% of bird species, 52% of amphibians and 71% of reef-building corals will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Dried up irrigation pond in Diawling National Park, Mauritania

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