Putting spotlight on the impact of global warming on plants and animals, a newly published study has claimed that it will be impacting plants, animals and especially insects. According to the research work, restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the average pre-industrial global temperature as suggested in Paris Agreement would help in preserving the planet’s biodiversity. The research work suggests that limiting warming to well below 2 degrees C will help in the preservation of thousands of land-based species of plants, vertebrates and insects living on the planet.
The research was conducted by Environmental Biologist – Rachel Warren of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. The work was inspired by Paris Climate Agreement which aims to bring global community together for the common cause that is to limit the global threat by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Lead author Warren and her colleagues in the new published research analysed the effect of several different warming scenarios on 100,000 species of terrestrial plants and animals. The scientists use climate simulations and data on the distribution of more than 100,000 terrestrial species worldwide to analyse how warming will going to influence the future biodiversity. The study further states that by 2100, at 2 degrees C of warming, 18 percent of insect species, 8 percent of vertebrate species and 16 percent of plant species would saw their habitat shrinkage to more than half. If the global warming is restricted to 1.5 degrees C then those number will fell to 6 percent of insects, 8 percent of plants and 4 percent of vertebrates.
Warren said that every plant, animal and insect has a range of climates where they remain comfortable. Outside that range, they become uncomfortable and at times they find it difficult to survive. Warren further said that losing off half of the range is pretty big impact as it means that organisms stop contributing as much to the ecosystem. Warren further suggested that 2 degrees was considered as safe as it involves little change to sea levels, species habitats or climate conditions but this target would still incur too great a cost. Warren says that there is very little literature available on the impact of lower warming target.
The team statistically determined the climatic niche of each species. The researches projected three warming scenarios 1.5 degrees, 2 degrees and 3.2 degrees C. As the temperatures of the planet rise, most species’ ranges got smaller. Warren said that there are basically reasons for that. First is that some climatic niches migrated right into the sea and vanished. Second is that some crept up mountain slopes but could not go up. Others – such as many plants could not going to survive as the pace of climate change is too fast to adapt.