Report Details 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming

For Immediate Release

Report Details 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming

Polar Bear, Sea Turtles, Spotted Owl, Caribou, and Salmon Could Go Extinct if Carbon Dioxide Not Quickly Reduced to 350 Parts Per Million

SAN FRANCISCO - In anticipation of this
Saturday's Global Day of Climate Action, the Center for Biological Diversity
today released an extensive inventory of species threatened by global warming.
The interactive Web site "350 Reasons We Need to Get to 350: 350 Species Threatened by
Global Warming
"
describes the growing risks posed by climate
change to 350 imperiled species in every region of the United
States and across the
globe.

"The Arctic is already melting, sea level is already rising,
and polar bears are already dying," said Rose Braz of the Center for Biological
Diversity. "We need quick action to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350
parts per million, and the current legislative proposals won't get us
there."

Atmospheric
CO2 currently stands at about 387 ppm (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
ppm. Doing so will require the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions
to 40 percent or more below 1990 levels by 2020.

Peer-reviewed
studies have concluded that 35 percent of species could be committed to
extinction by 2050 if current emissions trajectories continue and that these
extinctions could be significantly reduced if emissions fall. 

To document the
devastating effects of global warming on wildlife, the Center for Biological
Diversity has profiled 350 climate-threatened species, including the Mexican
spotted owl, sea otter, polar bear, and Atlantic salmon.

Users can find
species' descriptions and photos through an interactive regional map or through
a taxonomic portal.

"As President
Obama prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, the time to act is now. If we fail to
reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or below, many
thousands of species, including our own human race, face a perilous future,"
said Braz.

The 350 species
include:

PACIFIC
WALRUS
: Earlier
this month, Arctic sea ice reached the third-lowest level ever recorded,
creating ripe condition for dangerous stampedes as walruses move to shore in
large numbers. This year up to 200 young Pacific walruses were trampled to death
in Alaska. On
September 8, 2009, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced a positive initial
finding on the Center's petition to list the walrus under the Endangered Species
Act due to global warming.

POLAR
BEAR
:
The melting
of its sea-ice habitat causes individual bears to drown, starve, and even resort
to cannibalism. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear as
threatened under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008 in response to a Center
petition to protect the bear from global warming. U.S.
government scientists predict that two-thirds of the world's polar bears will
disappear by mid-century.

ATLANTIC
SALMON
:
Sometimes called the "king of fish," the Atlantic salmon has already declined by
90 percent. Hotter river waters are dangerous for these cold-water fish during
spawning and for their eggs and young.

MEXICAN
SPOTTED OWL
:
Dependent on cool, shady forests, the Mexican spotted owl is threatened by
rising temperatures and higher risk of forest fires.

SEA
OTTERS
: Off the
West Coast, increasingly corrosive waters are making it harder for the
invertebrates that are the otter's main prey to form their
shells.

SEA
TURTLES
: Rising
temperatures could dramatically tilt the gender balance of sea turtles,
endangering reproduction because the gender of hatchlings is determined by
temperature. In temperatures just two degrees higher than 29 degrees Celsius,
almost all hatchlings are females.

ARCTIC
FOX
:
As
temperatures rise, the Arctic fox's tundra and sea-ice habitat is shrinking, its
lemming prey are becoming less abundant, and it faces increased competition and
displacement by the red fox, which is moving northward.

CORALS:
Earlier this
week, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the
federal government to protect 83 coral species under the Endangered Species Act
due to global warming. Corals are at high risk of extinction worldwide from
global warming and the related threat of ocean
acidification.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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