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A third of all species at risk of extinction

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Man-made climate change could lead to a third of plant and animal species going extinct. Stock photo: PA

Man-made climate change could lead to a third of plant and animal species going extinct. Stock photo: PA

Man-made climate change could lead to a third of plant and animal species going extinct. Stock photo: PA

A third of all plant and animal species could be wiped out by man-made climate change in just 50 years, US scientists have warned.

The researchers from the University of Arizona used data from 538 species at 581 sites around the globe, and found 44pc of the 538 species had already gone extinct at one or more of the sites they earlier inhabited.

They also used climate data taken at the time of the earliest survey of each site and at more recent surveys.

The study identified maximum annual temperatures as the key variable that best explains whether a population will become extinct.

"In a way, it's a 'choose your own adventure'," the university's Prof John Wiens said. "If we stick to the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, we may lose fewer than two out of every 10 plant and animal species on Earth by 2070.

"But if humans cause larger temperature increases, we could lose more than a third or even half of all animal and plant species, based on our results."

Irish Independent