Responses of species to changes in climate determine climate protection targets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Widespread ecological impacts of climate change are visible everywhere. Plants and animals respond rapidly to the ongoing changes. Responses significantly differ from species to species and from year to year. Traditional impact assessments focused on long-term range shifts of biomes. Studies focusing on species-specific responses depict more impacts. Over the last decade, many more ecological responses have appeared than expected from an average warming trend alone. Impacts and vulnerability are therefore likely to be underestimated. Ecosystems respond faster to changes in extreme weather than to average climate. This explains the more rapid appearance of ecological responses throughout the world. Tighter political climate protection targets are therefore urgently needed. Based on current understanding of the response of species and ecosystems, we propose that efforts be made to limit the warming to maximally 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels and limit the rate of change to less than 0.05oC per decade
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAvoiding Dangerous Climate Change
EditorsD. Tirpak, J. Aston, Z. Dadi, L.G. Meira Filho, B. Metz, M. Parry, J. Schellnhuber, K.S. Yap, R. Watson, T. Wigley
Place of PublicationExeter, UK
PublisherDEFRA & Met Office
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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