The Earth is heading towards its sixth mass extinction event, a shock prediction from experts claims.
During the planet's 4.5 billion-year history – or less, depending on what you believe in – there have been five mass extinction events so far.
It is now thought that climate change is going to lead to the next one.
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Although, it probably won't happen in the lifetimes of anyone reading this, the Earth would need to be in such a state that climate change was destroying the planet faster than can be replaced.
David Storch, a professor in the Department of Ecology at Charles University in Prague told Live Science: “The current rate of extinction is about two orders of magnitude higher than the normal rate of extinction.
“The climate change detected during these last mass extinctions may not be the sole cause of the extinctions, but the rate of extinction may be the consequence of the other global changes which happened at that time.”
Kunio Kaiho, a professor emeritus at the Department of Earth Science at Tohoku University in Japan explained that the way the planet is heating up, it is only a few degrees off the temperature needed to destroy the Earth faster than it can be healed.
He said: “An increase in average global temperatures of 9C, or 16.2F, essential for major mass extinctions coinciding with global warming.”
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According to the UK Government's website, the combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14F or 0.08C per decade since 1880. – almost two full degrees in between 1880 and 2022.
However, the average rate of increase since 1981 is 0.18C or 0.32F – which is more than twice the current rate of planetary warming.
This would mean that the next extinction event is . . . quite a way off.
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