OTTAWA - Climate change will cause the extinction of tens of thousands of species in coming decades, says a study in the scientific journal Conservation Biology. The study predicts a disastrous thinning of life in the world’s biodiversity ‘hotspots’ - places like the tropical Andes or the Caribbean basin, which contain a disproportionate wealth of species. The authors estimate that 39 to 43 per cent of species in these regions - 56,000 plant species and 3,700 vertebrates - would likely disappear with a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels. ‘These (hotspots) are the crown jewels of the planet’s biodiversity,’ lead author Jay Malcolm of the University of Toronto said in an interview Tuesday. ‘Unless we get our act together soon we’re looking at committing ourselves to this kind of thing.’ Malcolm said the hotspots tend to be found on high mountains, near the edges of continents or on islands, leaving species with few options for migration. For example, mountain species can seek cooler temperatures by going to higher altitudes, but as they climb the land area diminishes. Land species at the ocean’s edge have nowhere to go. Until recently a CO2 doubling […]

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