America’s Hottest Species: A New Report on Climate Change and the Rising Risk of Species Extinction

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The Endangered Species Coalition released today (1 December 2009) a report, America’s Hottest Species, on ten of America’s endangered wildlife, birds, fish and plants being affected by climate change.

“Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence,” remarked Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition (ESC). “Polar bears, lynx, salmon, coral and many other endangered species are already feeling the heat.”  The ESC describes itself as a "national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining wild places."

According to the ESC’s press release, “The report focuses on ten endangered or threatened species, as well as an online poll winner. The global warming threats to species include increased disease, diminished reproduction, lost habitat, reduced food supply, and other impacts.” To see a full list of the species and their locations, click here.

The latest assessment report (2007) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 20 to 30 percent of all species will be pushed past the point of no return and condemned to extinction if global temperature increases exceed 1.5 to 2.5° C (3 to 5° F) above pre-industrial levels. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the official keeper of the grim records of species loss, warns that “climate change will become one of the major drivers of species extinctions in the 21st Century.”

Many species within the U.S. and around the world are feeling the impacts of a changing climate. U.S. national parks are also at risk, which house and protect some of America’s most dynamic creatures. Learn how species and parks are being impacted near you.

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