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|作者：英语点津 文章来源：China Daily 点击数：64 更新时间：2016/12/14|
Nearly half the species on the planet are failing to cope with global warming the world has already experienced, according to an alarming new study that suggests the sixth mass extinction of animal life in the Earth's history could take place in as little as 50 years.
A leading evolutionary biologist, Professor John Wiens, found that 47 percent of nearly 1,000 species had suffered local extinctions linked to climate change with populations absent from areas where they had been found before.
Professor Wiens, who is editor of the Quarterly Review of Biology and a winner of the American Society of Naturalists' Presidential Award, said the implications for the future were serious because his review showed plants and animals were struggling to deal with the relatively small amount of global warming experienced to date.
So far the world has warmed by about 1℃ above pre-industrial levels, but it is expected to hit between 2.6 and 4.8C by 2100 if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases.
Another problem facing life on Earth is the election of climate science denier Donald Trump as US president.
Professor Wiens, of Arizona University, described this as a "global disaster" and, when asked what he would say to the President-elect if he met him, he joked grimly: "Kill yourself immediately."
In his study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, the scientist examined academic papers about 976 different species from all over the world that had been studied at least twice, once about 50 years ago and again within the last 10 years.
"In almost half the species looked at, there have been local extinctions already," he said.
"What it shows is species cannot change fast enough to keep up with a small change in climate. That's the big implication - even a small change in temperature and they cannot handle it."
The study looked at 716 different kinds of animals and 260 plants from Asia, Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere.
There were few areas of the planet that were unaffected.
The current rate of global extinction of animals and plants is believed to be faster than some of the five great extinction events in the Earth's history, but so far the total number lost does not compare to the species lost when the dinosaurs were wiped out about 65 million years ago.
However one reason geologists are considering declaring a new epoch in the planet's history is the rapid loss of flora and fauna that will have a noticeable effect on the fossil record.
Professor Wiens said: "It's true that in terms of global extinction of entire species that have already happened, I think we're not there [at the sixth mass extinction] yet.
"But I think unfortunately we are on track for that to happen.
There were already "two bad signs" that Mr Trump's election would make things worse, Professor Wiens said.
"One would be this person he's assigned to head the EPA (renowned climate science denier Scott Pruitt) and the other thing is pulling out of the Paris accord," he said.
Asked what he would really say to Mr Trump if they met, Professor Wiens said: "I guess I would tell him 'what would you think if there was a country on the other side of the world that was releasing gas that was going to cause extinctions in our country, to hurt our crops and make people starve'.
"He would say, 'tell me where it is and we'll bomb them tomorrow'. Then I'd say, 'this is what we're doing to other countries because we are the big polluters.'
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