Climate change is not just a political talking point or discussion item, it is a real catastrophe that is causing millions to suffer and die. While many people choose to wilfully ignore the facts that 97% of scientists agree on, there are some serious things we will soon start losing before the world wakes up and corrects the situation.
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Starting out with one that may or may not be tongue in cheek, but if you or someone you know is a redhead, Dr. Alistair Moffat of ScotlandsDNA thinks that changing climate will change the gene.
If Scotland gets sunnier, within a few centuries redheads could dissapear. The gene is thought to be an evolutionary response to the lack of sun, and is meant to allows to get more vitamin D. If there is more sun, less people could carry the gene, and thus the gene, and redheads, could be dying out.
While this seems a bit far-fetched, according to Scottish scientists it could be happen.
Like your Central American grown coffee beans? If you are from the United States, who consume more coffee than any other country, the threat to you coffee comes with serious concern.
The problem is a fungus names roya – spanish for rust – that is speculated to kill off 40% of Central American coffee crops. The changing of the weather patterns is allowing the rust to cover the leaves of the tree preventing photosynthesis.
Rust has become such a huge problem, Texas A&M university recently announced a five million dollar grant to research coffee to combat the problem.
8. The Winter Olympics
As we saw in the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, the weather can definitely affect the games. Poor slope conditions due to the manufacturing and storage of snow led to a poor quality of certain events and even injuries.
The problems are only going to get worse at the years go on. According to Daniel Scott from the University of Waterloo, only six spots could be suitable to host the games in a century from now.
The biggest problem is the snowpack, where there will not be enough snow on the mountains to hold the games. The other problem is the daily low temperatures would not hold below freezing.
While snow can be man-made today, without freezing temperature, it will not maintain, and climate change is reducing the amount of freezing temperatures.
7. The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef Outlook report 2014 warned that the warming of ocean waters is discouraging corals from spreading out at the reef, citing it as the most serious threat. In 2015 the United Nations world heritage committee will decide whether to consider giving the reef an “in danger” status.
Key concerns cited are the poor water quality from land-based run-off, coastal development and fishing concerns. The report states the northern third of the reef is in fair conditions the other areas are still an area of concern.
According to the report “The overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is porr, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate in the future.”
Recent studies have found an odd change in certain amphibious species due to a deadly fungus called the chytrid fungus. This fungus that has been around and noted for at least the last 80 years, but currently, 1,034 species are considered “susceptible” to it, according to the International Union for Conservation of Natural Resources (IUCN).
Some lab tests have found that the frog’s abilities to fight this fungus is largely temperature based, and with the increase in the frequency of El Nino events may possibly affect the resistance. This lessening of the resistance to the disease can cause an epidemic among the species.
One of the jewels for hikers and photographers alike is the Joshua Tree National Park, which feature beautiful scenes and desert life. The USGS claim that the overall population of the southern most regions could lose nearly 90% of their trees in the next 60 years.
This is due nearly predominately to the awful drought that has been affecting the area over the years. You will be hard pressed to find younger trees, and all of the older trees are dying out without the water they need.
Climate change is going to cause more extreme droughts, and if not stopped, will kill off all of the Joshua Trees.
4. Deep sea creatures
The ocean is an ecosystem within itself and the deep sea waters are directly affected by the high water temperatures. As the high water temperatures rise the deep water creatures can directly be affected.
Scientists from the University of Aberdeen sent cameras to the New Herbides Trench, and they did not expect what they found, a sparseness of creatures. The diversity of the creatures was lower than they had hoped for as well, and the one possible reason is the change in temperature of the waters above the trench.
Somewhat of the “poster child” of climate change, the polar bear is the most visible example of what we can lose. The Artic, where the polar bear calls home, is experiencing the warmest air temperatures in four centuries and the sea ice is losing daily.
Without all of the sea ice, the polar bears are no longer able to reach their food, with shorter hunting seasons leading to a decrease in the population.
The other concern is that polar bears are also leaving the sea ice to den on land in the winters. This can either lead them stranded when hunting season starts, or in danger of land threats like forest fires and collapsing dens.
2. Emperor Penguins
While polar bears are the most commonly connected animal to climate change, the emperor penguin is quickly becoming a big concern as well. Similar to the polar bears, the penguins are facing threat from the lack of sea ice.
Nature has published a report that states two-thirds of the penguin colonies could lose over half of their population by 2100. This is because the lack of sea ice makes it difficult to get to their foot, predominantly krill.
It is expected that there could be a loss of nearly 113,000 birds at the rate predicted in the report, which is 19% of the population.
One of the worst aspects of climate change that humans can understand is the loss of human life. This isn’t something that is predicted to happen sometime in the future, it is already happening.
According to a Dara report, climate change is killing nearly 1,000 children per day, 400,000 annually. The majority of the deaths are from “hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries”
A Reuters report claims that “more than 100 million will die by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change”
100 million people….