environment Politics: biodiversity endangered species extinction
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USA Today notes that climate change is happening too fast for the birds and the bees:
From birds in the Plains to bighorn sheep in California to caribou in Alaska and moose in Minnesota, a new study says animals are struggling to adapt to the new climate conditions caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which produces the carbon dioxide that warms the atmosphere.
“Climate change is the biggest threat wildlife will face this century,” says the report released today by the National Wildlife Federation, an environmental group based in Reston, Va.
Though animals have adapted to natural climate variation since the beginning of time, the changes are happening much faster than they are able to respond. “The underlying climatic conditions to which species have been accustomed for thousands of years are rapidly changing, and we are already witnessing the impacts,” according to the report, called “Wildlife in a Warming World.”
I hear that clock a’tickin’, on the mantel shelf. Sent January 30:
When they admit the existence of the greenhouse effect at all, those who downplay the seriousness of climate change like to assert that species will “adapt” to the consequences of our warming atmosphere — a profound misunderstanding of the distinction between individual and evolutionary time. Climate science shows us that while Earth’s climate has undergone radical changes in the past, they’ve unfolded over millennia, giving animals and plants a chance to evolve and adapt to their new circumstances.
By contrast, anthropogenic global warming unfolds within the span of a single human lifetime, a geological eyeblink allowing no time for the gradual processes of biological adaptation. It’s not a coincidence that the same lawmakers who deny the evidence of global climate change also consistently reject the even more overwhelming evidence of evolution. America’s policies need to be based on facts, not ideologically-driven sloganeering. We continue ignoring science at our own peril.