Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis

Climate
Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis

National Wildlife Federation

The climate crisis is already changing the playing field for wildlife and urgent action is needed to preserve America’s conservation legacy, according to a new report released yesterday by the National Wildlife Federation. Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis examines case studies from across the country illustrating how global warming is altering wildlife habitats. It recommends solutions to protect both wildlife and communities across America from the growing climate-fueled threats such as extreme weather, sea level rise and wildfires.

Some of America’s most iconic species—from moose to sandhill cranes to sea turtles–are seeing their homes transformed by rapid climate change,” said Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientist at the National Wildlife Federation. “Climate disruption is the most serious threat facing America’s wildlife and requires action at the local, state and federal levels.”

The National Wildlife Federation report covers eight regions of the U.S., from the Arctic to the Atlantic coast, and details concrete examples of wildlife struggling to adapt to the climate crisis:

  • A recent study looked at 305 species of birds in North America and found that of those, more than half (177) have expanded their range northward by an average of 35 miles in the past four decades.
  • Climate change is creating conditions fueling more mega-wildfires, which are having devastating impacts on fish and wildlife habitats and are putting people and property in harm’s way.
  • Alaska has warmed about twice as much as the continental U.S. and warming is severely altering the Arctic landscape including melting permafrost. In the face of this unprecedented warming, many uniquely polar habitats—like the sea ice that polar bears, seals, and walrus require to hunt—are shrinking fast.
  • As superstorm Sandy demonstrated, extreme weather fueled by climate change can turn coastal habitats upside down. Of the 72 National Wildlife Refuges along the Atlantic coast, 35 were temporarily closed because of the storm’s devastation, not to mention the widespread destruction of property and infrastructure.

The report recommends a four-pronged attack to confront the climate crisis’ threats to wildlife and communities:

  1. Address the underlying cause and cut carbon pollution 50 percent by 2030.
  2. Transition to cleaner, more secure sources of energy like offshore wind, solar power and next-generation biofuels while avoiding dirty energy choices like coal and tar sands oil.
  3. Safeguard wildlife and their habitats by promoting climate-smart approaches to conservation. 
  4. Help communities prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, more extreme weather and more severe droughts.

“We know what’s causing the climate changes Americans are seeing in their own backyards and we have the solutions to secure our climate and safeguard our wildlife for future generations,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “What we need is the political leadership to make smart energy choices and wise investments in protecting our natural resources. We can’t leave this problem for our children and grandchildren to fix—they’ll judge us based on what we do now.”

The report comes in the wake of President Barack Obama’s Jan. 21 inaugural address targeting climate change as a priority. “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” said President Obama. “That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure—our forests and waterways; our croplands and snow-capped peaks.”

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE and RENEWABLES pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less