If the average temperature of the earth is raised by 4.5 degrees, half of the plant and animal species in the most abundant areas of the earth are likely to disappear locally, according to a new study in the journal Climatic Change.
The study is based on different models of how the species will be affected during different climate scenarios, of which 4.5 degrees of elevation is the worst. It is in line with forecasts up to 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as hitherto without any action being taken to stop them.
According to the researchers, who work at the University of East Anglia in the UK, James Cook University in Australia and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Amazon is at risk of losing 69 percent of its plants and a large proportion of the amphibians. In Madagascar, 60 percent of all species are in the danger zone.
In the Mediterranean, 30 percent of the species are in danger, while 90 percent of the amphibians in southwestern Australia are at risk of being lost. The savannas in the so-called miombo belt in southern Africa can also become depleted. Species that can spread and move to new places are affected to a lesser extent. But most plants, amphibians and reptiles can’t do that.