What's the Latest Development?

A recent study out of Exeter University in the U.K. examines nearly 200 predictions of the future effects of climate change from studies conducted around the world, as well as 130 reports of changes which have already occurred. "The research shows that on average the declines that have already happened match predictions in terms of the relative risk to different species across the world. ... Lead author Dr. Ilya Maclean said: 'Our study is a wake-up call for action. The many species that are already declining could become extinct if things continue as they are.'"

What's the Big Idea?

Many studies have predicted that future climate change will threaten a range of plants and animals with extinction. Some of these studies have been treated with caution because of uncertainty about how species will respond to climate change. But widely published research showing how animals and plants are already responding to climate change gave the Exeter team the opportunity to check whether the predictions were wide of the mark. By producing the largest review ever of such studies, they show that predictions have, on average, been accurate, or even slightly too cautious.