Global Warming's Contradictory Role in Decreasing Biodiversity
A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the historically positive role that periods of warming have had in increasing global biodiversity. "[Researchers] found that biodiversity increases over periods of warming in the earth's climate with many new species emerging," reports The Guardian's Flora Malien, "although these are simultaneously accompanied by extinctions of existing species."
Scientists, though, warn us not to get our hopes up about the outcome of our current warming trend. "I'm afraid it's not good news in terms of what we might experience from global warming in the next few decades," says study director Dr Peter Mayhew at York University. "Because obviously extinction can happen rapidly, but speciation [the generation of new species] can't happen rapidly. So unfortunately we're quite likely, simply because of the rate of climate change today, to see extinctions occurring. And we're unlikely to see the benefits that might go along with that, which is the generation of new species."