A lot of people think the planet is as solid as a rock in its ability to withstand centuries of human abuse. But new reports keep showing how fragile Earth’s ecosystem has become because of our overconsumption of fossil fuels.
Climate change is expected to result in the extinction of one of every 13 species on Earth, a new study shows. In North America, one of every 20 species will die off because of climate change, The Associate Press reports. It will be about the same in Europe.
In South America, the extinction rate is expected to increase to 23 percent, making it the worst of all the continents, the study published Thursday in the journal Science says.
The study examined species using computer simulations. It found a general average extinction rate for the planet of 7.9 percent. The elimination of one form of life puts survival pressure on others.
The extinction rate changes with time and because of planetary warming from greenhouse gases produced by human consumption of coal, oil and gas. University of Connecticut ecologist Mark Urban noted that the current extinction rate of 2.8 percent is comparatively low.
But it will rise with more carbon dioxide pollution and warmer temperatures.