The climate change effects on biodiversity could be significant


Climate Change Affects Biodiversity

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The link between climate change and biodiversity has long been established. Although throughout Earth’s history the climate has always changed with ecosystems and species coming and going, rapid climate change affects ecosystems and species ability to adapt and so biodiversity loss increases.

 

Biodiversity and Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity, December, 2009

From a human perspective, the rapid climate change and accelerating biodiversity loss risks human security (e.g. a major change in the food chain upon which we depend, water sources may change, recede or disappear, medicines and other resources we rely on may be harder to obtain as the plants and forna they are derived from may reduce or disappear, etc.).

The UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, in May 2010, summarized some concerns that climate change will have on ecosystems:

Climate change is already having an impact on biodiversity, and is projected to become a progressively more significant threat in the coming decades. Loss of Arctic sea ice threatens biodiversity across an entire biome and beyond. The related pressure of ocean acidification, resulting from higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is also already being observed.

Ecosystems are already showing negative impacts under current levels of climate change … which is modest compared to future projected changes…. In addition to warming temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events and changing patterns of rainfall and drought can be expected to have significant impacts on biodiversity.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010), Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, May, 2010, p.56

Some species may benefit from climate change (including, from a human perspective, an increases in diseases and pests) but the rapid nature of the change suggests that most species will not find it as beneficial as most will not be able to adapt

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