Climate change is threatening animals everywhere on Earth. And time is running out. Scientists warn that the effects of global warming are far worse than humanity perceives. Unless we take urgent action, our survival and that of animals, is severely imperilled. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Mass migrations, pandemics and civil unrest over resources is inevitable if drastic steps aren’t taken to change the way we live.
Climate change is real and human activities are the main cause.
Intense and more frequent droughts, storms, temperatures, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and warming oceans are directly harming animals, changing the environments in which they live, and wreaking havoc on ecosystems.
Over the last few decades, ecologists have been observing significant changes in the condition and distribution of wildlife across the globe. These changes are occurring at unprecedented rates, higher than expected for any species. Global warming is already having a devastating impact on our environment and the world’s animals.
From polar bears in the Arctic to turtles off the coast of Indonesia, the survival of life on Earth is at risk from the changing climate and warming planet. Wildlife migrations are disrupted, reproductive behavior is changing in many species, animal populations are diminishing and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of animal species are becoming extinct every year due to the climate crisis.
There are solutions to this catastrophe, but only three per cent of available funding is being spent on addressing climate change.
What is climate change?
When we burn fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂), are released and trapped in the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise. This in turn causes global warming, leading to extreme weather patterns, wildfires and warmer oceans. All these impacts, known as climate change, affect wildlife in direct and indirect ways.
To prevent global warming beyond 1.5°C (2.7°F), we must reduce emissions by 7.6% every year. But the global community is not meeting this target and if we continue this way, carbon emissions will be twice what they should be by 2030. On the other hand, if we had acted on the predicted targets 10 years ago, governments would only need to reduce emissions by 3.3% each year to prevent a climate crisis.
The effects of climate change
Continued failure to meet our carbon targets will lead to global temperature of above 1.5°C (2.7°F) by 2025. Scientists say every fraction of additional global warming beyond 1.5°C (2.7°F) will bring unprecedented impacts, threatening the lives of humans and devastating the natural world.
At 1.5°C (2.7°F), over 70% of coral reefs will die, and at 2°C (3.6°F), 99% of the ocean’s reefs will be lost. Insects, vital for pollination of crops and plants, will lose half their habitat at 1.5°C (2.7°F). Sea-levels will be 100 centimeters higher at 2°C (3.6°F) than at 1.5°C (2.7°F). As global warming climbs above 1.5°C (2.7°F), the frequency and intensity of droughts, storms and extreme weather will significantly increase, threatening the survival of all life on Earth.
Helping animals adapt to climate change by reducing the rate of global warming is essential to saving wildlife species.
We need to take urgent action to address this climate crisis. Reducing the use of fossil fuels, insisting on government policies, pressurizing large corporations to reduce their carbon emissions and helping animals adapt to a changing climate will help ensure we save all life on the planet.
What we are doing to help prevent a climate crisis
At ASI we are committed to doing whatever we can to reduce the effect climate change is having on animals. We support research, help implement sustainable projects and raise awareness on the issues at stake so that globally animal populations stand a chance to survive. We also pledge to hold those in power accountable for their actions, calling them out when lip service and lax enforcement fail to get the job done.