Elizabeth Kolbert interviewed on the Washington Post by Brad Plumer
BP: So you end up with pretty wide estimates for how many species could go extinct if the planet heats up this much. Some studies suggest that 20 percent to 30 percent of species are at risk of extinction if the planet warms 2°C. Other scientists think those estimates are flawed.
EK: There’s still a lot we don’t know here. You often hear that what we’re doing is a planetary experiment, but we only have one planet, and we can only run this experiment once. So some of these modeling efforts get pretty complicated. Just because a species lives in a certain climate under a certain set of conditions, could it live under different conditions? Or is this just where it’s maximally competitive? What happens if some of your competitors are disadvantaged? We just don’t know. Life turns out to be incredibly complicated.