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Tens of Thousands of Species at Risk if Warming Exceeds 1.5°C
Sticking to aggressive decarbonization targets laid out under the Paris agreement is crucial to saving thousands of species that form the basis of the planet's ecosystem, according to new research.
A study published Thursday in the journal Science used 21 different climate scenarios, based on different degrees of warming, to predict changes to the habitat ranges of over 115,000 plant and animal species. The study finds that only keeping warming to under 2 degrees C would double the negative impact on plants and vertebrates and triple the impact on insects versus the scenarios at 1.5 degrees C.
As reported by Inside Climate News:
"If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.
But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk."
"We showed insects are the most sensitive group," professor Rachel Warren, at the University of East Anglia, and lead author of the study, The Guardian. "They are important because ecosystems cannot function without insects. They play an absolutely critical role in the food chain."
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.