Will species go extinct with climate change and is there anything we can do to prevent it?

Bats hang from a tree.
Image: FAU

The effects of climate change

Climate change has already caused some species to go extinct, and is likely to drive more species to extinction. Species have always gone extinct in the history of our planet but human activities causing climate change are accelerating this process. Recent research predicts that one-third of all plant and animal species could be extinct by 2070 if climate change continues as it is.

Species can adapt to some extent to these rapidly changing climate patterns. We are seeing changes in behavior, like dispersal to new areas where the climate becomes more suitable. About half of the globally assessed species are moving towards earth’s poles and – if the species live on land – to higher elevations.

To be able to do so, they need connected ecologically appropriate locations – free of human settlement – to move through. Nevertheless, those protected areas and migration corridors are not enough because species cannot adapt beyond their basic climate tolerance. Survival through migration alone is not guaranteed.

FAU’s ‘Info bites’ on the effects of climate change.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll publish info bites, small bits of information, about the outcomes of the report to show how climate change affects everybody and how we can work to limit its effects.

IPCC Report info bites

About the World Climate Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. In their latest report, published in late February, scientists outline the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. One of the report’s main authors is Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kiessling, head of the Chair of Palaeontology.

Wolfgang Kießling on the Wolrd Climate Report