Secret UN Report: IPCC Doubts Prognoses On Species Extinction

  • Date: 24/03/14
  • Axel Bojanowski, Spiegel Online

Does global warming cause global species extinction? The IPCC is no longer sure: According to information seen by Der SPIEGEL there are surprisingly strong doubts in the draft of its new report compared to its previous predictions.

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The IPCC surprisingly questions its previous forecasts of extinctions, Der Spiegel reports in its new edition.

According to the secret draft report of the IPCC, whose second part will be published at the end of March, the IPCC continues to expect that many animal and plant species could fall victim to global warming. On the other hand, the scientists distance themselves from their previous forecasts: “There is very little confidence that the current models accurately predict the risk of extinction”, quotes Der Spiegel from the report.

In the past few years scientific uncertainties have “become more manifest”. The IPCC has drawn consequences from the identified problems: In the draft report, no concrete numbers are mentioned for postulated extinction of species.

Acute lack of data

Biological knowledge also increases doubts about the expected extinction of species. So far, the IPCC admits, there is no evidence that climate change has led to the extinction of a single species. At most, climate change could have perhaps played a role in the disappearance of some amphibians, freshwater fish and molluscs.

Although there are quite ominous developments: climate zones seem to move faster than species are capable of keeping up. But for most living creatures there is a lack of basic data, says zoologist Ragnar Kinzelbach of the University of Rostock. Predictions how climate change would affect them are therefore hardly possible. The ecologist fears that climate change would become the fig leaf for inaction on more pressing problems. “Monoculture, over-fertilization or soil destruction destroy more species than several degrees temperature rise would ever be able to.”

Spiegel Online, 23 March 2014