Preventing the Sixth Mass Extinction Requires Dealing With Climate Change


Last week the United States and China signed a landmark agreement to combat climate change. This is an important step in guarding against even more damage from rising seas that threaten major cities, increasingly common and severe storms that devastate lives and property, wildfires, drought, and the huge economic costs that already are mounting from climate catastrophes.

However, from my perspective as a paleontologist who has spent decades studying the impacts of climate change, both before and after people got into the act, there is an even bigger reason to forge global climate agreements. Allowing the climate change we’re now causing to continue would virtually guarantee that human beings will be the first species in the planet’s history bring on a mass extinction of life on Earth.

Mass extinction means that at least three out every four species you are familiar with die out. Forever. Extinction of that magnitude has happened only five times in the past 540 million years, most recently 66 million years ago, when the last big dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid strike.

Photo credit: David Smith, University of California Museum of Paleontology

Today, even without human-caused climate change thrown into the —> Read More Here


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