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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

Posted on 19 May 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows

Limiting global warming to 2 degrees and not the more ambitious 1.5 degrees would put far more species at risk of extinction. Insects are especially vulnerable.


A mere half degree of extra global warming could mean profound risks for tens of thousands of the planet's species, scientists have found. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Humanity can powerfully improve the survival odds of tens of thousands of species, but only if nations dramatically raise their ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

One key to salvaging plant and vertebrate habitat and protecting the world's biodiversity is to limit warming to the most challenging benchmark established under the 2015 Paris treaty—1.5 degrees Celsius of warming—not to the treaty's less stringent 2 degree guardrail, the study found.

The study assessed, in more detail than ever before, a key measure of extinction risk: the shrinking size of each species' current geographical range, or natural habitat. It projected that for an alarming number of species, their range size would shrink by at least half as temperatures rise past the Paris goals.

If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.

But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk.

Keeping warming to 2 degrees is not nearly as effective, they found. The additional half degree of warming would double the impact on plants and vertebrate species, and triple the impact on insects.

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows by John H Cushman Jr & Neela Banerjee, InsideClimate News, May 17, 2018

Links posted on Facebook

Sun May 13, 2018

Mon May 14, 2018

Tue May 15, 2018

Wed May 16, 2018

Thu May 17, 2018

Fri May 18, 2018

Sat May 19, 2018

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. A little more detail  on the decline in insect numbers according to research discussed here.

    "The number of flying insects had plunged by three-quarters in the past 25 years in Germany and very likely elsewhere." “We know that many insects are in rapid decline due to factors such as habitat loss and intensive farming methods,” the future, these declines would be hugely accelerated by the impacts of climate change, under realistic climate projections."

    A decline of three quarters is more than I was expecting, and is quite astonishing. This must impact the entire ecosystem,  and pollination of plants and the number of birds. Sure enough it does in this article . The scale of change is pretty astonishing.

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  2. Mean global warming could exceed 1.5°C above preindustrial temperature with a decade and it is becoming increasingly likely that it will exceed 2°C by 2100. As implied by the article, this is likely to pose serious problems for ability of the human population to produce the food needed to sustain itself.

    This will be the outcome if temperature increase adversely effects the ability of insect pollinators to survive. Without them it will be impossible to maintain the present, let alone an increased quantity of agricultural production needed to feed a growing global human population.

    However, the prospect of mass starvation seems unlikely to result in more rapid efforts at decarbonising the economy – unless widespread financial gain is to be had from doing so.

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  3. nigelj@1, yes good point. Biodiversity loss was already proceeding at a massive rate before climate change came along. 

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