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Polar bears may go extinct if carbon emissions aren’t reduced

By Ashley Paige, teenvogue.com

44 days ago   Article ID# 3995939
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Polar Bears International

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (teenvogue.com) - If there’s one way to observe the direct impact of global warming, it’s by looking at the dwindling numbers of polar bears. On Monday, federal officials said polar bears may go extinct due to climate change…or more specifically, the reduction of their sea ice habitat, the Huffington Post reports.

The only way this species might be able to regain ground? By humans acknowledging and fighting back against global warming — an issue President-elect Donald Trump has written off as a Chinese hoax.

“The single most important action for conservation and recovery of polar bears is a prompt and aggressive global reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to Arctic warming,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service writes in a manual dedicated to conserving the bears, the Huffington Post reports.

Elisabeth Kruger, a polar bear expert and Arctic program officer at the World Wildlife Fund, echoes the report, stressing the importance of tackling global warming head-on.

“If our grandchildren are to live in a world with a healthy population of wild polar bears, we need to take responsibility to limit further increases in climate change and care for our planet,” she said. “We have no other option than to accelerate the transition to a climate-smart future.”

Sea ice is currently shrinking at a rate of around 14% per decade, and the number of polar bears left is estimated between 22,000 – 31,000, the World Wildlife Fund reports. In 2008, the species was declared to be threatened — the first vertebrae species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act because of climate change, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

There may be hope yet, though: The 2016 Paris climate agreement, in which 200 countries promised to reduce carbon emissions to keep global temperatures down, was an advance on the global warming front. In fact, the goal was to keep the temperature from climbing to 2 degrees Celsius above what it was before the Industrial Revolution. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that if we stay below this specific 2-degree standard, there’s a much higher chance the polar bear will be saved, the Huffington Post reports.

There are things you can do to make sure the polar bear stays alive, too. Polar Bears International outlines a list of tips from scientists to lower greenhouse gas emissions, including walking or riding a bike, using only the amount of water you need, not wasting food, using LED bulbs, eating less meat, purchasing locally-grown fruits and veggies, and recycling.

Copyright 2017 teenvogue.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 44 days ago   Article ID# 3995939

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