Quantifying the benefit of early climate change mitigation in avoiding biodiversity loss

TitleQuantifying the benefit of early climate change mitigation in avoiding biodiversity loss
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWarren R, VanDerWal J, Price J., Welbergen JA, Atkinson I, Ramirez-Villegas J, Osborn TJ, Jarvis A, Shoo LP, Williams SE, Lowe J
JournalNature Climate Change

Climate change is expected to have significant influences on terrestrial biodiversity at all system levels, including species-level reductions in range size and abundance, especially amongst endemic species. However, little is known about how mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions could reduce biodiversity impacts, particularly amongst common and widespread species. Our global analysis of future climatic range change of common and widespread species shows that without mitigation, 57±6% of plants and 34±7% of animals are likely to lose ≥50% of their present climatic range by the 2080s. With mitigation, however, losses are reduced by 60% if emissions peak in 2016 or 40% if emissions peak in 2030. Thus, our analyses indicate that without mitigation, large range contractions can be expected even amongst common and widespread species, amounting to a substantial global reduction in biodiversity and ecosystem services by the end of this century. Prompt and stringent mitigation, on the other hand, could substantially reduce range losses and buy up to four decades for climate change adaptation.


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