Keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees C helps most species hold their ground | Science News

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Keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees C helps most species hold their ground

Just a half-degree beyond that would at least double the range loss for plants and animals

By
2:21pm, May 17, 2018
honeybee

BUG LOSS  Insects, including honeybees (shown), would see their geographic ranges shrink the most under higher future warming scenarios.

Limiting global warming this century to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures would be a boon to the planet’s biodiversity. This lower warming threshold, compared with warming of 2 degrees C, will preserve much larger swaths of the geographic ranges of tens of thousands of land-based species of plants, vertebrates and insects living on the planet, a new study suggests.

Using a combination of climate simulations and data on the distribution of more than 115,000 terrestrial species worldwide, scientists saw distinct differences in future biodiversity depending on how much warming the planet experiences. At 2 degrees C of warming by 2100, 18 percent of insect species, 16 percent of plant species and 8 percent of vertebrate species saw their geographic ranges shrink by more than half. Under 1.5 degrees C of warming, those numbers fell to 6 percent of insects, 8 percent of plants

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