Losing species to climate change
By Sarah “Steve” Mosko
It’s common knowledge that polar bears, and their primary prey the ringed seal, might go extinct this century as the Arctic sea ice melts because rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG) are warming the planet.
Hearing this news, many Americans likely felt something akin to, “Gee, that’s a shame,” but the country did little more than shrug its collective shoulders before getting back to business as usual.
But news keeps coming about species threatened by climate change via habitats becoming unlivable or collapsing of food webs. The latest sting came from Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa who concluded that dozens of bumblebee species in North America and Europe could be headed for extinction because the southern reach of their habitat is becoming too hot. The study appeared in the July 10 issue of Science magazine.
Although no one knows how many different lifeforms could be wiped out if climate change continues unchecked, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) points to studies predicting that 35 percent of species could be “committed to extinction by 2050” if GHG from burning fossil fuels are not reigned in.