Species are currently going extinct at a faster rate than at any time in the past with the exception of cataclysmic encoders with extraterrestrial objects. A good proxy for the rate of extinction is the rate of growth in energy used by the human population. In other words, extinction rates are increasing in step with the product of population growth times the growth in affluence
About 30,000 species go extinct annually.
Species Extinction and Human Population
1. Edward Wilson estimates 27,000 species are currently lost per year. By 2022, 22% of all species will be extinct if no action is taken.
2. Niles Eldridge estimates 30,000 per year currently.
3. Georgina M. Mace using a different methodology based on extrapolations from the current lists of endangered species arrives at a figure of 14-22% loss of species and subspecies over the next 100 years.
4. Paul Ehrlich, using another approach based on total energy use estimates extinction rates at 7,000 to 13,000 times the background rate, (70,000 to 130,000 species per year) which he says is higher than figures based on data for higher orders of animal indicates, but we have little data on insects and micro flora and fauna.