“ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.”
Arctic foxes are beautiful animals, perfectly adapted to their climate. Although their looks are cute and almost delicate compared to other foxes, their home range is quite large and encompasses the coldest places in the world- the entire Arctic tundra, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Scandinavia, and even Iceland. These animals are so tough that they are the only native land mammal in their area of Iceland, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
Of their several ingenious adaptations that make it possible to survive in such extreme conditions is deep, thick fur which allows them to maintain a consistent body temperature, as well as compact bodies which minimize the surface area that is exposed to the cold air.
Unfortunately for this amazing creature, it is under threat of extinction due to a variety of factors. They are prime targets of the fur trade and have fallen victim to diseases spread from domestic dogs.
Then, of course, there’s global warming. The Defenders of Wildlife webpage about the arctic fox explains:
“The Arctic fox is losing ground to the larger red fox. Arctic foxes are specially adapted to thrive in the far north. Where conditions are less extreme, however, this highly specialized species is generally out-competed by its cousin, the more adaptable red fox.
As climate change takes its toll and the snow-line continues to recede further and further north, the range of the Arctic fox shrinks, too, giving way to the northward advance of the red fox.”
The longer we humans take to acknowledge that the scientific proof of global warming is certain and irrefutable, the less time we will have to halt the extinctions of animals such as the arctic fox- animals which are very dependent on the specific conditions of their home habitats. Conditions that, as we argue and argue, will continue to shift and change.
“Why the drop in amphibian species matters: Amphibians control pests, inspire new medicines, feed other animals and help make ecosystems work. They are inherently valued by people of all ages—watching tadpoles and listening to frog calls are some of the most accessible interactions we have with the natural world.”
For more, go to ScientificAmerican.com
This is just another example of how those who wish to believe that global climate change isn’t happening will keep being proven WRONG. Even the Obama Administration is on board, creating a bold new program to address climate change and its inevitable effects on wildlife. In fact, they’ve been documenting how it’s already happening. Although this article is a few months old, I think it’s still really important to share here.
WASHINGTON, March 27, 2013 — The Obama administration Tuesday announced a nationwide plan to help wildlife adapt to threats from climate change.
Developed along with state and tribal authorities, the strategy seeks to preserve species as global warming alters their historical habitats and, in many cases, forces them to migrate across state and tribal borders.
Over the next five years, the plan establishes priorities for what will probably be a decades-long effort. One key proposal is to create wildlife “corridors” that would let animals and plants move to new habitats. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel M. Ashe said such routes could be made through easements and could total “much more than 1 million acres.” The plan does not provide an estimate of the cost.
The effects of climate change are already apparent, the plan notes. Oyster larvae are struggling off the Northwest coast. In the Atlantic, fish are migrating north and into deeper waters. Geese and ducks do not fly as far south. In the West, bark beetles destroy pines because winters are not cold enough to kill infestations.
The plan, called the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, does not prioritize species to target, although “the polar bear is the poster child” of wildlife threatened by global warming, Ashe said.
But efforts have already begun to protect wildlife. The lesser prairie chicken in the Great Plains, for instance, also faces threats from mining, oil production, farming and ranching. Climate change models estimate that the chicken’s habitat could undergo a 5-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature and a drop in precipitation by 2060.
The federal government already pays ranchers and farmers to remove land from production to create wildlife refuges. If native prairie were restored to 10% of that land, according to one analysis, that could offset the prairie chicken’s projected population decline.
Recently, some state-level efforts to adapt to global warming have been stymied by politicians who reject climate science. In North Carolina, for instance, planning to build infrastructure along the coast that could withstand storm surges worsened by sea-level rise has been delayed. State politicians dismissed scientific models that predicted the rise by the end of the century.
But efforts to help wildlife adapt have not provoked a backlash so far, state and administration officials said in a conference call.
“With coastal communities, there are challenges with coral populations, with changing dynamics in fish population,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “So people are less focused on why and more focused on what’s next.”
By Barbara Liston (Reuters) – After six years of searching, an entomologist has concluded that three varieties of butterflies native to south Florida have become extinct, nearly doubling the number of North American butterflies known to be gone.
“These are unique butterflies to Florida. This is our biological treasure. Each unique species that we lose, we won’t ever get that back again,” Marc Minno, who conducted the survey for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, told Reuters on Monday.
The disappearance of butterflies should serve as a warning about the degradation of south Florida’s environment, he said.
“It’s indicating there are major problems, environmental harm to Florida. And this is an indication that quality for people is also degrading and people should be worried about that,” Minno said.
Before Minno’s survey, only four varieties of North American butterflies, all from California, were presumed to be extinct, and the last one added to the list was 55 years ago. Besides the three varieties which Minno concluded are extinct, two more native butterflies no longer exist in Florida but are living in the Caribbean, and two more are heading toward extinction, he said.
What is happening to the Florida butterflies remains an unanswered question. The Schaus’ Swallowtail, found only in the upper Florida Keys, became in 1976 one of the first insects ever given legal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Minno said only six of the swallowtails were sighted in 2012.
Scientists began noticing a general decline in the butterfly populations in the 1980s, and Minno, like many scientists, assumed the spraying of pesticides to kill mosquitoes might be at fault. But his survey suggested otherwise.
In urban areas, such as Key West which has little natural habitat remaining and is routinely sprayed, Minno said, “There are so many butterflies flying you can hardly keep track of them all. There are just swarms of butterflies sometimes. You just wonder what the heck is going on. It’s just the opposite of what you would think.”
By contrast, Minno said he found few butterflies in vast conservations lands without mosquito control, such as the million-acre Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.
One of his theories is that mosquito spraying might bolster butterfly populations by killing off native and non-native parasitic wasps which feast on butterfly larvae and caterpillars. Another theory is that invasive predatory ants, such as the Mexican twig ant and fire ants, which were introduced to the area in the 1970s and are unrestrained by pesticides in conservation areas, might be overwhelming butterfly populations there.
Minno said the three butterflies that were found only in southern Florida and are now extinct are the Florida Zestos Skipper, the Rockland Meske’s Skipper, and the Keys Zarucco Skipper. In addition, the Bahamian Swallowtails and the Nickerbean Blues are gone from Florida but alive in the Caribbean. Minno also expects the Schaus’ Swallowtail and the Miami Blue, both of which continue to decline despite formal recovery plans, to become extinct soon. Of 120 varieties of butterflies documented in the Keys, Minno said 18 have become imperiled since the 1970s.
Minno said no state, federal or private agency has funded research to find out what is causing the decline. (Editing by Tom Brown and Phil Berlowitz)
Albany, N.Y.- 23 April, 2013– In honor of Earth Day, the New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation to extend the NY-Sun Initiative through 2023 and solidify the state’s long-term commitment to solar energy. Today’s bipartisan vote for the New York Solar Bill (S.2522) indicates growing support among lawmakers for delivering comprehensive solar policy to Governor Cuomo’s desk this legislative session.
Business and environmental groups praised bill sponsor Senator George Maziarz and other Senate supporters for passing the solar bill, which will create thousands of jobs, lower solar costs and increase energy reliability for all New Yorkers.
“The New York Solar Bill will help create new local jobs, modernize our power infrastructure, protect our environment, and put New York at the forefront of our growing clean energy economy. We commend New York’s Senate for committing to this 10-year solar program. It will drive the kind of private investment that it takes to build a world-class solar market,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president for state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“At a time when the state faces the dual challenges of an economy still in recovery and failing energy infrastructure, this solar bill can help build a stronger New York,” said Peter Olmsted, east coast policy advocate for the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar). “We thank bill sponsor Senator Maziarz and his colleagues for their leadership and look forward to working with the Assembly to get long-term solar policy across the finish line.”
“Environmental benefits aren’t the only kind of green worth celebrating this Earth Day. For all its eco-friendly credentials, solar power is also driving real investment and job creation right here in New York. With today’s successful vote, our Senators showed that they are committed to seeing solar economic growth continue up and down the state,” said Sail Van Nostrand, president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA).
“NY-Sun is delivering on its promise to jumpstart the solar industry in the Empire State; attracting private sector investment, creating local jobs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution from the electric sector,” said Jackson Morris, director of strategic engagement at the Pace Energy & Climate Center. “Thanks to the leadership of Senator Maziarz, today’s Senate vote moves us a critical step closer to a long-term solar program that will keep driving down costs and maximizing benefits to New Yorkers.”
“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers understand all too well the urgent need to combat climate change and better prepare for its impacts,” said Pierre Bull, policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Solar power is helping to tackle those challenges head-on. This bill—together with reductions in power plant pollution and increased energy efficiency and support for other renewable energy sources, like offshore wind—can help New York build a cleaner, safer and more secure energy future.”
About the New York Solar Bill:
The New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522) would build on the success of the NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to drive growth in the state’s solar industry and lower solar costs for homes, businesses, schools and other energy users. NY-Sun was established to quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity added between 2011 and 2013. In his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo committed to extending the NY-Sun Initiative through 2023. The New York Solar Bill would solidify a 10-year extension of NY-Sun in statute, ensuring that New Yorkers benefit from a stable and predictable long-term incentive program.
Sponsored by Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D- Setauket), the bill is expected to deliver the following benefits:
- Build 2,200 megawatts (MW) of solar, enough clean, reliable electricity to power 400,000 New York homes.
- Create thousands of new local jobs in New York.
- Save New Yorkers billions by reducing the need to fire up our dirtiest and most expensive fossil power plants.
- Spur millions of dollars of investment in the state’s growing clean energy economy.
The proposal has support from a coalition of businesses, trade associations and environmental groups, including: Alliance for Clean Energy – New York, Borrego Solar, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Advocates of New York, EDF Renewable Energy, E.ON Climate & Renewables North America, Mainstream Energy Corp., NRDC, The Nature Conservancy, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), NYSEIA, Nexamp, Pace Energy & Climate Center, REC Solar, SolarCity, SEIA, Solar One, Sierra Club, SunEdison, Sungevity, SunPower Corp., Sunrun, Trinity Solar, and Vote Solar.
With enough solar to power 27,000 homes, New York currently ranks 12th in the country for total installed solar capacity. 3,300 New Yorkers are employed in the state’s growing solar industry. In 2012, $257 million was invested in New York to install solar on homes and businesses. This represents a 91% increase over the previous year and is expected to grow again in 2013.