The effect of climate change on endangered species has been wildly underestimated, a new study has found.
A survey of studies has determined that climate change has had a particularly dire effect on mammals and birds on the endangered species list. That includes about half of the mammals and almost a quarter of the birds on the “red list” kept by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study found that about 700 species on the list were affected by the warming planet.
The findings show that climate change is already a major threat to many species on Earth, not at some vague point in the future, said James Watson, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia. Watson said most climate studies on biodiversity focus on the effects climate change could have 50 to 100 years from now.