BACKGROUND The approval of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) rice by China was momentous for biotech crops, although it has yet to be approved for commercial production. Non-target pest problems in rice paddies, such as the three ecologically similar species of planthoppers Nilaparvata lugens, Laodelphax striatellus and Sogatella furcifera, could become increasingly serious under global climate change. Fused (Cry1Ab/Cry1Ac) and single (Cry1Ab) transgenic Bt rice were evaluated for effects on species-specific responses of planthoppers to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperature. RESULTS Transgenic Bt rice lines significantly modified species-specific responses of the planthoppers to elevated CO2 and temperature. High temperature appears to favour outbreaks of S. furcifera relative to N. lugens and L. striatellus when feeding upon fused transgenic Bt rice, especially at elevated CO2 . Elevated CO2 at high temperature appears to be a factor reducing S. furcifera occurrence when feeding upon single transgenic Bt rice. CONCLUSION Different types of transgenic Bt rice alter the species-specific responses of non-target planthoppers to elevated CO2 and temperature. Compared with their non-transgenic parental lines, the single transgenic Bt rice shows better performance in controlling the non-target planthopper S. furcifera by comparison with the fused transgenic Bt rice under elevated CO2 and temperature. It is suggested that multitypes of transgenic Bt rice be used in the field simultaneously in order to take advantage of high transgenic diversity for optimal performance against all pests in paddy fields.