The most likely cause of the present mass extinction is human-induced habitat loss. Presently, about fifty percent of the Earth’s natural habitats have been cleared for human use. Among other things, this includes deforestation to make room for agriculture, which accounts for the loss of tens of thousands of species per year, particularly in tropical climates. Habitat loss can also be caused by development, mining, drilling and logging. Other possible causes of mass extinction are global warming, pollution, overexploitation of species, and introduction of invasive species.
As maddie pointed out, global warming is a driver of mass extinction. Global warming and habitat loss are closely related. Sea level rise is one way that global warming is directly destroying habitat. Another effect of having too much carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is ocean acidification. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a very lengthy report on how ocean acidification is harming marine organisms. They also have several other reports on how global warming is affecting life on our planet. Change of any kind is difficult for most organisms, and too much change may end the existence of a species. However, we can always hope that many of the organisms on earth today will adapt quickly enough to keep our wonderful planet full of diversity.
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