Date: December 9, 2009
Contact: Rocio Johnson
Washington DC – America’s top ten endangered wildlife, birds, fish and plants impacted by global warming are highlighted in a new report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, America’s Hottest Species, demonstrates ways that our changing climate is increasing the risk of extinction for eleven species on the brink of disappearing forever.
“Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Endangered species don’t have the luxury of waiting for international decision-makers to waiver on climate change. We need action now. Polar bears, lynx, salmon, coral and many other endangered species are already feeling the heat.”
The report focuses on ten endangered or threatened species, as well as an online poll winner. According to Huta, “The species in this report are representative of all imperiled wildlife, plants and fish that are now facing an additional compounding threat to their survival. If President Obama and Congress don’t lead, these impacts will only worsen.”
Globally, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 20 to 30 percent of the world’s species will be at an increased risk of extinction if global temperature increases exceed 1.5 to 2.5° C (3 to 5° F) above pre-industrial levels. The global warming threats to species include increased disease, diminished reproduction, lost habitat, reduced food supply, and other impacts.
Safeguarding Species in a Warming World
“To help protect and restore endangered species, our nation must address the impacts global warming is already having and clean up the sources of global warming pollution—both nationally and internationally,” said Huta.
America’s Hottest Species calls for action from the Obama Administration and Congress. “On the cusp of the Copenhagen meeting, the Administration has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in protecting imperiled wildlife from global warming,” said Huta. “Simply put, we need binding agreements that will reduce emissions”. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released a draft Climate Change Strategic Plan to guide the government in both reducing global warming pollution and safeguarding fish and wildlife from the inevitable impacts of climate change.
Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering climate change legislation. To truly protect wildlife, the report calls for the legislation to at a minimum follow three policies: 1) planning and funding to help wildlife adapt to climate change, 2) CO2 emissions targets based on what the best available science indicates is needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, and 3) protection of existing environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.
America’s Hottest Species calls for global warming to be factored into all endangered species related decisions now made in order to help prevent species from disappearing forever.
The list of species in the report, along with additional media contacts, is below.
The full report, which includes information on each species and initial solutions, is available online at www.endangered.org.
The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website atwww.conserveturtles.org or call (800) 678-7853.