Driven to Extinction

The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Richard Pearson

An absorbing and unbiased account of what may lie in store for the diversity of life on Earth.

978 0 565 09299 3
October 2011
218 x 153 mm
232 pp
Natural History Museum


Could more than a million species disappear in the 21st century? 

Drawing upon a wide range of illuminating case studies from around the world, Driven to Extinction provides a balanced and highly readable insight into the potential impacts of climate change on the diversity of life.

Richard Pearson meticulously assembles the evidence of how species of plants and animals have reacted to temperature changes in the past, and how they are likely to respond in the future. 

He shows how different species are interconnected, how subtle yet essential those connections can be, and how severing one link in the complex chain of mutual cooperation and dependency can lead to the breakdown of a once-thriving community and, ultimately, extinction.

At the same time, he also explores how climate change can offer some species new opportunities even as it narrows prospects for others, highlighting the adaptability and survival techniques of some of the weirdest and most wonderful creatures on the planet. 

Exposing successes and flaws in current research, Driven to Extinction is an engaging and unbiased overview of what scientists know – and don’t know – about the impacts of climate change.

About the author

Richard Pearson is a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History with a Ph.D. from Oxford University on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. 

His research has been funded by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation, and his findings have been published in scientific journals, including Nature.

The Museum

The Natural History Museum, London, is a world-leading science research centre and one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions, with more than three million visitors each year. 

It is also home to one of the most important and comprehensive collections of natural history specimens, literature and artworks in the world, which are consulted daily by many of the Museum’s 300 scientific staff members and scientists worldwide. 

The collections cover almost all groups of animals, plants, minerals and fossils ranging from cells on slides to whole animals preserved in alcohol. 

Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in more than 68 countries.


Find out what others think of this book.

"Driven to Extinction is a wonderfully written revelation of how nature is stirring in response to climate change — and a wake up call to what could happen to our fellow inhabitants on the living planet. Required reading for every citizen."

Thomas E. Lovejoy - Senior Advisor to the United Nations Foundation

"A multitude of books are published each year about global warming, many of which discuss its impacts on biodiversity. The aim of this volume is to examine the issue in an unbiased manner for everyday citizens, and explore the difficulties in attempting to predict what might actually happen to plant and animal populations as the climate continues to change. Pearson, a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, uses extensive case studies from peer-reviewed research to illustrate his points. He examines past and recent distribution shifts of various organisms, the potential for plants and animals to adapt to changing environmental conditions, and the overall risk of catastrophic species extinctions...The writing is very accessible, and the book provides an excellent summary of the issues along with solid evidence for the author's claims. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All students and general readers. "

Choice - Magazine of the American Library Association

Buy earth and environment books online

Earth's Restless Surface book

Visit the online shop to find titles about the Earth, rocks, gems, minerals, meteorites, fossils and more.

You can also buy other books, DVDs and lots of gifts inspired by the natural world.

Go shopping

Share this