Two separate reports published today suggest that climate change will bring a greater risk of heat waves to central England and push increasing numbers of the planet's animals and plants towards extinction.
Research pubished in Environmental Research Letters suggests that we are now 13 times more likely to experience a heat wave in England as a result of climate change. 2014 has been officially confirmed as the warmest year in England since records began in 1910. The new findings from the University of Melbourne add to a large amount of evidence that now suggests that human-induced climate change is increasing the chances of extreme heat in parts of the world. Global temperatures last year were only 0.68 degrees Centigrade above average, but this led to areas of extreme heat in some parts of the planet, including England.
Meanwhile a separate study published in Science suggests that if we do nothing to address climate change and average global temperatures are allowed to rise by 4 degrees Cebntigrade, we would lose on in six of all animal and plant species. Risks are greatest to animals and plants living in South America, Australia and New Zealand according to the research by Dr Mark Urban from the University of Connecticut, who analysed 131 scientific studies on extinction risk arising from climate change.
If we manage to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees above pre-Industrial averages, the risk of extinction is cut to one in twenty, but this is still almost double the risk of extinction today (2.8%).
These new studies privide yet more reasons why it's so important that we act together as a species to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases. If we don't, we will not only harm ourselves in the long run, but also huge numbers of the animal and bird species we share our planet with.
Photo by Gary Sauer-Thompson