The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Climate Change Threatens Two-Thirds of North American Bird Species With Extinction
The research uses 140 million observations of 604 North American bird species and climate models to gauge how birds may respond to climate change and estimate their future ranges. The report estimates that at least eight states could see their state birds totally disappear by the end of the century if warming rises by 3 degrees C, and states that keeping warming below 1.5 degrees C could help more than 75 percent of the continents' species.
Birder Kenn Kaufman commented on the broader implications in the Los Angeles Times:
Why does this matter to anyone who's not a bird watcher?
For one thing, birds fill a crucial niche in the ecosystem, keeping down insect populations and serving as food themselves for larger predators. But they also serve as a visible symbol of broader environmental shifts. It may seem like a cliché to mention the canary in the coal mine, warning miners of dangerous conditions. But bird populations are in many ways the canaries for all of us, and their shifting ranges warn of increasing droughts, floods, fires, desiccating heat, rising seas, untillable farms and unlivable cities.
We still have time to do something about it, however. The potential loss of 389 North American species projected in the Audubon study is what would happen if global readings go up by 3 degrees. But the scientists also modeled what would happen at lesser levels of warming, and the results are striking. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees would reduce the danger for three-quarters of those threatened birds, Audubon's modeling found. The obvious canary-in-the-mine message is that this would also be of huge benefit to humans, reducing the potential suffering for people worldwide.
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Concrete and asphalt absorb the sun's energy. So when a heat wave strikes, city neighborhoods with few trees and lots of black pavement can get hotter than other areas — a lot hotter.
By Tara Lohan
The Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife, irrigation, recreation and other cultural uses, and provides 40 percent of the water supply for the city of Santa Fe's 85,000 residents.
By Julia Conley
Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system