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Global Warming And Animal Extinction
By Ernest Stewart
"Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception." ~~~ Carl Sagan
Global warming is taking its toll on wildlife around the world in all climates. Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns from pole to pole, forcing animals to migrate to new areas in order to survive. But not every species is able to just get up and go, with animals dependent on narrow temperature ranges or specific habitats at most risk.
The Nature Conservancy says, "The rapid nature of climate change is likely to exceed the ability of many species to migrate or adjust. Experts predict that one-fourth of Earth's species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate." As we've already seen time and time again about Global warming predictions. First they say by 2100 we'll have this or that happen, however a few years later the time period falls to 2050; and a few years later it's 2025; and a few years after that it's already happening!
A recent study from researchers at the University of Connecticut found that one in six species could go extinct if global warming continues unabated. If the world can keep its emissions to limits agreed upon last year at the Paris climate summit, one in 20 species could go extinct. Of course, the Paris summit was not about saving nature, but about saving their political asses!
It's already too late for a lot of species. For example: "The death of the last Golden Toad in Central America in 1999 marked the first documented extinction as a result of climate change. And more recently, researchers in Australia reported the disappearance of the first mammalian species, the Bramble Cay melomy, as a direct result of global warming. This rat-like mammal, endemic to one small island off of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, was last seen in 2009. In the interim, 97 percent of the melomy's habitat has been lost to rising sea level. An extensive survey of the small island it inhabited in 2014 turned up no more of them, leading researchers to declare the species extinct."
Biologists believe that unchecked warming will likely cause the polar bear to lose its battle with existence within a century, while coral reefs across the tropics might not even last that long; in fact, coral reefs are dissolving as we speak. Fish and other marine wildlife dependent on coral reefs, such as the orange-spotted filefish, will likely go the way of the Dodo, as well. Researchers are also worried about everything from North Atlantic cod to Antarctica's Adelie penguins to Africa's Quiver tree to Hawaii's Haleakala silversword, among thousands of other animal and plant species. Wildlife native in Australia and New Zealand remain particularly vulnerable, given they have less room to roam as temperatures continue to rise.
Mark Urban, a co-author on the University of Connecticut study says, "The risk if we continue on our current trajectory is very high. If you look out your window and count six species and think that one of those will potentially disappear, that's quite profound. Those losses would affect our economy, our cultures, our food security, our health. It really compels us to act.
"This isn't just doom and gloom. We still have time. Extinctions can take a long time. There are processes that could be important in mediating these effects -- for example, evolution; but we really need to very quickly start to understand these risks in a much more sophisticated way," concludes Urban.
Trouble is, both of our far right parties are being paid huge sums of money to do nothing on the environment, except to lie about global warming, or, tell us they're going to do something about it; but, of course, they won't. The question is, "What will you do about it, America?"
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(c) 2016 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 14 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.