Warming to hit species hard 氣候變暖將導致大量物種消失

更新時間 2013年 8月 12日, 星期一 - 格林尼治標準時間09:16

Vocabulary: climate change 詞匯: 氣候變化

Polar bear

Can you imagine a world where more than half of our common plant species and a third of our known animals disappear from sight? That's the scenario suggested by new research on the impact of climate change.

An international team of researchers looked at the impact of rising temperatures on nearly 50,000 species of plants and animals. They came to the conclusion that these are to decline due to changes in their habitat.

They looked at temperature and rainfall records for the habitats in which these species now live, and mapped the areas that would remain suitable for them under different weather conditions.

The scientists projected that if no significant efforts were made to limit greenhouse gas emissions, by the year 2100 global temperatures would be 4C above pre-industrial levels. In this scenario, some 34% of animal species and 57% of plants would lose more than half of their current habitat ranges.

The impact on species will be felt more heavily in some parts of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, the Amazon region and Australia.

Our society would be affected too, according to Dr Rachel Warren, from the University of East Anglia in Britain. She says: "There'll be a knock-on effect for humans because these species are important for things like water and air purification, flood control and nutrient cycling, and eco-tourism."

In spite of the conclusions to this paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, it is not all doom and gloom. Dr Warren says: "Swift action to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases can prevent the biodiversity loss by reducing the amount of global warming to 2C rather than 4 degrees."

The researcher believes that this would buy time for plants and animals to adapt to the change.

If nothing is changed and the predictions of this study are confirmed, the world might look very different in a few generations.

Quiz 測驗

1. Why are animals and plant species under threat?

Because of the changes global warming might cause to their habitats.

2. According to this new research, how much warmer might it get by the end of the century?

In 2100 temperatures could be 4C above pre-industrial levels.

3. What difference would a lower rise in temperature make to animal and plant species?

It would give them more time to adapt.

4. Which word means 'appropriate'?

Suitable.

5. Which expression means 'a situation that is bad and won't get better'?

Doom and gloom.

Glossary 词汇表 (点击单词收听发音)

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