More than 10% of plant and animal species could go extinct by end of 21st century  

More than a tenth of plant and animal species on Earth could go extinct by the end of the century if the current trends on emissions continue, according to a recently published paper that seeks to raise awareness even as the world governments are on their final leg of negotiations in Montreal for COP15.

The paper published on Friday in Science Advances journal paints an alarming picture of what could unfold if the current climate crisis continues to trend, arguing that a rise in temperature could fracture Earth’s web of life.

It claims that more than 42,000 plants and animal species out of the 150,388 species monitored by the IUCN could go extinct, pinning the blame squarely on human behaviour.

It came up with its assessment after using a supercomputer to model a synthetic Earth to understand the effect global heating and land use change could have on living beings.

According to the researchers, 6 per cent of plants and animals will disappear by 2050 if there is no change in emission norms and would eventually, the figure would rise to 13 per cent by the end of the century.

It noted that in the worst-case scenario, an estimated 27 per cent of plants and animals could disappear by 2100.

“We have populated a virtual world from the ground up and mapped the resulting fate of thousands of species across the globe to determine the likelihood of real-world tipping points,” said Dr Giovanni Strona, a co-author and a scientist at the University of Helsinki, reports the Guardian.

“This study is unique because it accounts also for the secondary effect on biodiversity, estimating the effect of species going extinct in local food webs beyond direct effects. The results demonstrate that interlinkages within food webs worsen biodiversity loss,” said the study’s co-author, Prof Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University in Australia.

Canada increases biodiversity funding

Meanwhile, Canada on Friday said that it was ramping up its international biodiversity funding to developing countries. It made the announcement during tense COP 15 talks aimed at sealing a “peace pact with nature.”

Environment minister Steven Guilbeault said their government has pledged to increase the fund by 255 million Canadian dollars (US$186 million) in aid for lower-income countries to help them protect their ecosystems, bringing the total figure to 1.5 billion Canadian dollars annually.

(With inputs from agencies)

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