There are 350 animals and plants that could vanish due to global
warming. If we act now to curb greenhouse gas emissions, many of them will
still have a chance to survive and recover — but we have to act now. And we
have to act decisively, with a firm goal of cutting the carbon dioxide in
our atmosphere to 350 ppm (parts per million).
With a click of your mouse, you can read about polar bears in Alaska, monk seals in Hawaii, sea otters in California; bone up on Atlantic salmon in the Northeast, sea turtles in Florida, or corals throughout the world — and hundreds of other species around the globe, big and small, iconic and unknown — that we’re hurting through our lethal addiction to fossil fuels. You can even read about one species that stands to be tragically impoverished by the effects of broader species loss: ourselves, Homo sapiens sapiens.
And find out exactly how climate change is putting species’ very existence at risk. Each brief profile will give a snapshot of what mechanisms are being triggered to make food webs collapse or habitats become less livable for particular animals or plants.
Read species’ descriptions and look at photos through an interactive regional map or a taxonomic portal.
Atmospheric CO2 currently stands at about 387 parts per million. Scientists, including the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Jim Hansen of NASA, have called on world leaders to reduce that level to 350 parts per million. Doing so will require the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent or more below 1990 levels by 2020.
Studies have concluded that 35 percent of species could be committed to extinction by 2050 if current greenhouse gas emissions trajectories continue. But many of these extinctions can be prevented if emissions are cut.
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