Biodiversity is a critical part of creation. The health of our earth, including of course our own health, depend on it.
Since the industrial revolution, human activities have added tremendous amounts of green house gases into the atmosphere. By doing so we are changing the composition of the atmosphere which results in the Earth becoming warmer through the action of the greenhouse effect being amplified in the process
One of the consequences of global warming will be to affect biodiversity
Numerous species of plants and animals are already responding to warmer temperatures by moving to higher altitudes or latitudes. Many species unable to adapt or migrate fast enough will however become at increased risk of extinction
Scientists estimate that we could lose half of all species present on the planet today through the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century.
Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss:
It is here important to highlight and emphasize the link between climate change and biodiversity loss.
It has taken millions of years for species to adapt to their given ecosystems. During this time numerous changes in the climate system have occurred. However, climate change that we observe today is occurring very fast (as opposed to most geological climate shifts) and is the result of mainly anthropic activities (and therefore could be slowed down)
Most species on Earth happen to have adapted to be very sensitive to even slight variations in outside parameters such as air pressure, or ambient temperature. Most scientists have agreed that numerous species will simply not be able to cope with the rise in atmospheric and oceanic temperatures which are predicted under various scenarios (including the most optimistic ones).
To further confirm the above, numerous studies on fossils and geological observations have concluded that rapid climate shifts have always resulted in massive species extinction events.
If temperatures were to rise by 2 degrees centigrade by 2100 (as predicted under most scenarios) this alone will without doubt result in the loss of a very significant portion of all species present on the Earth today (most still unknown)
It makes little sense to act to preserve biodiversity in given ecosystems today but on the other hand to ignore the much greater threat that climate change will have on biodiversity and these ecosystems in the short to medium term.
Thus acting to limit the worse impacts of climate change by reducing GHG emissions will also help in preserving species on Earth.
=> Maintaining the Earth Climate and preserving biodiversity cannot go without one another
Most experts agree that coral reefs around the world will not be able to survive a 2 degree Celcius rise in atmospheric temperatures
The impact of global warming on the oceans biodiversity will be disastrous. As sea level rises and oceans become more acidic due to the absorption of CO2, biodiversity in shallow marine ecosystems will sharply decrease.
Coastal ecosystems and their inhabiting biodiversity will be greatly affected as a result of global sea level rise
As sea level rises, large coastal areas will become permanently flooded. In addition, the salty waters will infiltrate further and further inland. Many species of plants and animals will not be able to cope with this change in soil salinity. Sea level rise alone will result in species extinctions.
The thought of the scale of species extinctions through climate change alone is disturbing. If predictions by the scientific community are correct, almost half of all species present on Earth today will become extinct by 2100 as a sole consequence of increased global temperatures. We must however keep in mind that in addition, there are many other factors which will drive even further species extinctions such as global pollution, habitat destruction.
We could loose half of the world total biodiversity from the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century.
Despite that deforestation and other threats have already alone very significant and disastrous consequences on biodiversity, climate change will continue to affect all the planet Ecosystems at increasing pressures proportional to the rise in ambient temperatures.
At the current rate of warming, the loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change will be disastrous.
Biodiversity as Solution
As we face the onset of climate change, our work world-wide, will be manifold, and every solution must be considered and applied. Key, however, will be the preservation and support of biodiversity across all ecosystems. A healthy ecosystem is a biologically diverse one, so building the principals of biodiversity into our neighbourhood and infrastructure planning can only help the planet and humans.