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Sep 2022

Overshooting 2°C would cause permanent damage to Earth's species

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Aug 2022

A new study has analysed that overshooting the 2°C temperature target would be highly damaging and even a temporary overshoot would cause waves of irreversible extinctions and lasting damage to tens of thousands of species.
 
This could be the scenario if humanity fails to make deep emission cuts during this decade and relies instead on future technologies to remove emissions later. The results reveal that harm would be fast to arrive and slow to disappear for nature, even after temperatures fall again. Just a few years of global temperatures above 2°C could transform the world’s most important ecosystems.
 
The research found that some species would remain exposed to dangerous conditions long after the global average temperature stabilised – with some remaining exposed as late as 2300. This is because some species, especially those in the tropics, live closer to the limit of heat they can tolerate and so are sensitive to relatively small changes in temperature. While global average temperatures may return to safer levels eventually, local temperature changes might lag behind.
 
The consequences of this ‘temporary’ exposure could be irreversible and include the tropical forests turning into savanna. The world would lose a critical global carbon sink like the Amazon basin, leaving more planet-warming gases in the atmosphere. A 
 
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