New research finds that the “rise and fall of ocean levels correlated more consistently with mass extinctions than any other factor.” Published in Nature this week, “Environmental determinants of extinction selectivity in the fossil record” ($ub. req’d) explores “the close statistical similarities between patterns of marine shelf sedimentation and rates of extinction.”
On our current emissions path, the planet’s temperature by 2100 will be more than 4.5°C hotter than today, hotter than it was the last time the world was ice free and sea levels were some 250 feet higher (see here). This research supports the IPCC prediction that as global average temperature increase (PDF) exceeds about 3.5°C (relative to 1980 to 1999), model projections suggest significant extinctions (PDF) (40-70 percent of species assessed) around the globe.
But really, who needs other species anyway? What have they ever done for us?