Can Global Warming Cause Extinctions?
Global warming is already causing extinctions in vulnerable species. Approximately 70 species of harlequin frogs in Central and South America have been driven to extinction by a disease that is linked with global warming. Warmer temperatures cause increased cloud cover that creates ideal conditions for a fungus that kills the frogs. This is only one cautionary example of how global warming disrupts the stability of ecosystems. As it continues, it will cause more extinctions.
Scientists predict 9-52% of all terrestrial species (1 million plants and animals) will be on an irreversible path to extinction by 2050. (These predictions are based on modeling of the effects of minimum to maximum climate warming impacts on a broad range of species in regions around the world.)
The planet's 25 biodiversity "hotspots" are especially vulnerable to climate impacts. These special places provide homes to 44% of the world's plants and 35% of its vertebrates, in less than 1.4% of its land area. A doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which estimates suggest could occur in about 100 years, could lead to extinction of as many as 43% of these areas' endemic species.