A recent climate study reinforced what we largely already knew: Earth is in trouble.
Kunio Kaiho, a climate scientist at Tohoku University in Japan and the lead author of the study, identified a disturbing linear link between climate shifts and mass extinction events. Essentially, the bigger the temp swing (up or down), the larger the extinction.
So where do we stand with current climate change forecasts? Worst case, Kaiho thinks climate change can generate a 16°F increase in just a few hundred years. This is much more imminent than previous scientific doomsday predictions, and would be enough to trigger a sixth mass extinction.
Given the extinction that offed the dinosaurs occurred over the course of 60,000 years, a few hundred years is a terrifyingly short period of time!
A microscopic silver lining? Predicted temperature increases are lower than other mass extinction temp swings, meaning species die-off would likely not be quite as extensive as the previous “big five” events. Comforting, right?!
Bottom line: we need big systematic changes and we need them fast.