An inconvenient misconception: Climate change is not the principal driver of biodiversity loss

Tim Caro, Zeke Rowe, Joel Berger, Philippa Wholey, Andrew Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current perception that climate change is the principal threat to biodiversity is at best premature. Although highly relevant, it detracts focus and effort from the primary threats: habitat destruction and overexploitation. We collated causes of vertebrate extinctions since 1900, threat information for amphibia, birds, and mammals from the IUCN Red List, and scrutinized others’ attempts to compare climate change with commensurate anthropogenic threats. In each analysis, none of the arguments founded on climate change's wide-ranging effects are as urgent for biodiversity as those for habitat loss and overexploitation. Present conservation efforts must refocus on these issues. Conserving ecosystems by focusing on these major threats not only protects biodiversity but is the only available, economically viable, global strategy to reverse climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12868
JournalConservation Letters
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Keywords

  • biodiversity loss
  • extinction
  • global change
  • population declines
  • vertebrates

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An inconvenient misconception: Climate change is not the principal driver of biodiversity loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this