Hug an Animal Today. Climate Change Could Make Them Go Away

February 25, 2020


Take a moment to cherish your plants and appreciate the animals you see around you.In 50 years, a third of them may no longer exist.Using data from surveys that studied 538 animals, insects and plants from 581 sites across the globe, researchers John J. Wiens and Cristian Román-Palacios from the University of Arizona found that approximately one in three plant, insect and animal species could face extinction by 2070.

However, things could be even worse if emissions continue to rise as rapidly as they have in recent decades. In a worst-case scenario, that number could rise to over 55%.

Of the 538 species studied, 44% of them have already experienced an extinction in a particular local area. The researchers found that local extinction sites had larger and faster changes in the hottest yearly temperatures than those that did not.While many species were able to tolerate a moderate increase in maximum temperatures, 50% of the species had local extinctions if maximum temperatures increased by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. That number rose to 95% if temperatures increased by more than 2.9 degrees Celsius. 

The researchers found that the key to predicting whether a population will go extinct is the maximum annual temperature, as opposed to the average yearly temperature. This is notable because average temperatures are typically used as markers in measuring climate change.With January going in the record books as the warmest January in 141 years and statistical analysis done by NOAA scientists predicting 2020 to be one of the five warmest years on record, the researchers believe there will be more local extinctions across the globe.

And with summer heat waves potentially becoming more dangerous in the coming decades, the potential for loss of life will likely only grow from here.However, that number could drop if we make a collective effort to address climate change, they say.

The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 by ministers from 195 countries from around the globe.It committed these countries to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and below 1.5 degrees, if possible.

The researchers found that achieving the Paris goals could be the difference between extinction and survival for many species.”Based on our sample of 538 species, we projected a loss of 30% of the species under a more extreme warming scenario, but only about 16% if we stick to the Paris Agreement,” Wiens told CNN. “So, think in 1 in 6 species, not 1 in 3.”The researchers believe that some species loss is inevitable at this point, no matter what we do to curb greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is still possible to protect biodiversity and prevent massive species loss.”I think that we should focus on preserving forests and other habitats in tropical areas, and this is part of the Paris Agreement,” Wiens said. “Preserving forests protects biodiversity and can help reduce or even reverse global warming. It’s a win-win.”

If we don’t stick with the Paris climate agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international pact aimed at curbing global emissions of heat-trapping gases.Unfortunately, studies have shown that so far, many countries are failing to meet the emissions cuts they set to limit climate change.

Making matters worse, President Trump formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris climate agreement in November. While it will take a full year for the U.S. to withdraw, losing the world’s second-largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions makes it more difficult to reach the agreement’s goals.

“Some researchers have estimated that two-thirds of all species of plants and animals could be lost due to tropical deforestation alone,” Wiens said. “If you combine that with climate change (which can impact species in protected forests and other reserves), then it really is terrible.

Even from our data alone, there are extreme warming scenarios where 55% of the species would be lost from intact habitats. And note that deforestation also increases global warming. It is a double whammy against biodiversity.”Species that are in tropical regions are two to four times likelier to face extinction than those in temperate regions.

“This is a big problem, because the majority of plant and animal species occur in the tropics,” Román-Palacios said.

16 Responses to “Hug an Animal Today. Climate Change Could Make Them Go Away”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    I try to make friends with as many animals as I can—-used to enjoy “petting” the bumblebees that visited my flower beds—you could stroke their backs gently with a fingertip while they dug around in the flowers. Since there are hardly any bees of any kind left in my area and the few pollinators that are left (butterflies and moths) are skittish, I am reduced to making friends with squirrels by feeding them dried corn on the cob.

    PS I DO kill any ants and mice that make it inside the house, though. so I’m not eligible for the St. Francis award.

    PPS If any Crockers have never hugged a tree, I suggest they do so ASAP. Pick out a good sized one that you can’t quite get your arms around. preferably an oak and hug it for several minutes. You will be surprised by what happens.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      ” If any Crockers have never hugged a tree, I suggest they do so ASAP. Pick out a good sized one that you can’t quite get your arms around. preferably an oak and hug it for several minutes. You will be surprised by what happens.”

      I’m guessing splinters?

      Irreversible sap stains on clothing?

      Bugs. Now you have bugs?

      The nice men in the white suits and large nets are right behind you?

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Tried it with a truly humungas Banyan (?) tree. Received a circular buzz traveled half way up the bod. Far out and other ethnic colloquialisms!

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Don’t tell GB—-let him continue to bask in ignorance.

        • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

          Still around Woofer?
          Replicated the experiment, surprised and really fascinated.

        • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

          Further to this fascinating effect, the government of Iceland has suggested people hug trees instead of people during isolation. They described the effect as noted, confirmed it is real and normal. Vaguely ‘disappointed’ about that.
          Next, are you OK? Comment quality on crock has slipped. RSVP

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Yep, a “buzz” is a good way to describe what you feel when you hug a tree. I’m convinced it’s not an imagined effect.

            Thanks for noticing my decreased participation in Crock discussions lately. You’re correct.

            First, that multidimensional spreadsheet I’ve been visualizing for the last 15+ years keeps getting worse—-it is disheartening to see how so many things related to climate change are getting worse, and at an accelerating pace with so many interlocking and reinforcing negative feedbacks. I have noticed that others among the more intelligent and scientifically literate commenters here are also saying less lately. Rational fatalism rules, and the abject failure to deal with the “right here, right now” coronavirus does NOT bode well for any meaningful attempt to deal with climate change in the immediate future. So, we lose even more years before CAGW overtakes us—-not much sense just talking about it.

            Second, opening up emails in the AM and finding so many Crock threads usurped and clogged by the multiple juvenile “look at me” postings of Sir Chucky is also discouraging. I suspect I am not alone in not wanting to pour “fine wine” into sewer water, so those threads don’t draw much of a response from me.

            Third, I have been dealing with some health issues over the past month or so, and have been in and out of the hospital and getting many tests. I have a great team of doctors and hope I’ll be around to help stir some S***pots for a while longer.

          • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

            Wish you well with the passing of ‘youth’. Can accept with ‘grace’, or my personal preference, bitching screaming and howling at the moon.
            Rational fatalism is to be ignored which requires mental Manipulation. Do not need any pontificating smart arse, stating the obvious, that we are fekt.
            Glimmer, Cov19 has shown that business as usual is not the only way. Love the young people’s involvement and wave my pointed stick at Santa Anna’s army.
            And tomorrow is another day!
            See thee is back, cheers and have a good one.

  2. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Cats, rats and cockroaches will survive. Shall hug my resident cats anyway. Happy to see any visiting animal, variety is reducing. Had a fox once, TOTAL surprise, really cool.
    Have seen the killing and continent burning power of extreme heat.
    Extincting various classes humans would help.

  3. redskylite Says:


    As ocean warming causes fish stocks to migrate toward cooler waters to maintain their preferred thermal environment, many of the nations that rely on commercial fish species as an integral part of their economy could suffer.

    Northwest African EEZs could lose the highest percentage of species, with a 6-25% reduction predicted by 2050 and a 30-58% reduction predicted by 2100 under the moderate and most severe scenarios, respectively.

  4. redskylite Says:

    “Researchers are concerned that the decision by each individual bear to stay on the ice is creating an ecological trap that may be contributing to population decreases that have already been documented in this population.”

  5. redskylite Says:

    What this could mean is that cold-blooded animals might be especially at risk of going extinct in a warmer world. “Now we know that the life-expectancy of cold-blooded vertebrates is linked to environmental temperatures, we could expect to see their lifespans further reduced as temperatures continue to rise through global warming.”

  6. redskylite Says:

    “With warmer temperatures, seeds may be triggered to sprout too early when conditions are not ideal for healthy growth. An abnormally warm spell of a few days – which is becoming more common – during an otherwise harsh winter can trigger those seeds to grow but ultimately make them fail. Many seeds might also be triggered to sprout too soon by higher moisture levels in the soil.”

  7. redskylite Says:

    Climate change takes toll on Zimbabwe’s natural habitat, UN deputy chief observes

    With unreliable weather patterns resulting in less rainfall, Hillary Madhiri of the national parks and wildlife office said that more than 400 bird and 150 mammal species – 45,000 of them elephants – are suffering.

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