America's Hottest Species
December 1, 2009
Contact: Leda Huta, Executive Director: 202-320-6467
Jon Hunter, Policy Director: 202-476-0669
America’s Hottest Species
New Report Focuses on What’s at Stake for America’s Endangered Species as Decision-makers Gather in Copenhagen and Congress Debates
Washington DC – Ten of America’s endangered wildlife, birds, fish and plants impacted by global warming are highlighted in a new report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, America’s Hottest Species, demonstrates ways that our changing climate is increasing the risk of extinction for species on the brink of disappearing forever.
“Global warming is like a bulldozer shoving species, already on the brink of extinction, perilously closer to the edge of existence,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Endangered species don't have the luxury of waiting for international decision-makers to waiver on climate change. We need action now. Polar bears, lynx, salmon, coral and many other endangered species are already feeling the heat.”
The report focuses on ten endangered or threatened species, as well as an online poll winner. According to Huta, “The species in this report are representative of all imperiled wildlife, plants and fish that are now facing an additional compounding threat to their survival. If President Obama and Congress don’t lead, these impacts will only worsen. President Obama’s decision to attend Copenhagen is encouraging.”
Globally, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 20 to 30 percent of the world's species will be at an increased risk of extinction if global temperature increases exceed 1.5 to 2.5° C (3 to 5° F) above pre-industrial levels. The global warming threats to species include increased disease, diminished reproduction, lost habitat, reduced food supply, and other impacts.
Safeguarding Species in a Warming World
“To help protect and restore endangered species, our nation must address the impacts global warming is already having and clean up the sources of global warming pollution—both nationally and internationally,” said Huta.
America’s Hottest Species calls for action from the Obama Administration and Congress. “On the cusp of the Copenhagen meeting, the Administration has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in protecting imperiled wildlife from global warming,” said Huta. “Simply put, we need binding agreements that will reduce emissions.” In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released a draft Climate Change Strategic Plan to guide the government in both reducing global warming pollution and safeguarding fish and wildlife from the inevitable impacts of climate change.
Currently, the U.S. Congress is considering climate change legislation. To truly protect wildlife, the report calls for the legislation to at a minimum follow three policies: 1) planning and funding to help wildlife adapt to climate change, 2) CO2 emissions targets based on what the best available science indicates is needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, and 3) protection of existing environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.
America’s Hottest Species calls for global warming to be factored into all endangered species related decisions now made in order to help prevent species from disappearing forever.
The list of species in the report, along with additional media contacts, is below.
- ‘Akikiki or Kaua’i Creeper
• Location: Hawaii
• Additional Media Contact: Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy, 202-234-7181
- Elkhorn Coral
• U.S. Location: Florida
• Additional Media Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, Center for Biological Diversity, 415-436-9682
- Bull Trout
• Location: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington
• Additional Media Contact: Rob Roberts, Trout Unlimited, 406-543-1192
- Canada Lynx
• Location: Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
• Additional Media Contact:
1. Southern Rockies: Paige Bonaker, Center for Native Ecosystems, 303-546-0214 ext. 7
2. Northern Rockies: David Gaillard, Defenders of Wildlife, 406-586-3970
3. New England: Tara Thornton, Endangered Species Coalition, 207-268-2108
- Pacific Salmon
• Location: California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
• Additional Media Contact: Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, 541-689-2000
- Leatherback Sea Turtle
• U.S. Location: Breed in Florida, Puerto Rico, US. Virgin Islands and are found offshore from Maine to Texas and from Washington to California
• Additional Media Contact: Marydele Donnelly, Caribbean Conservation Corporation, 410-750-1561
- Grizzly Bear
• Impacted Location: Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming
• Additional Media Contact:
1. Jonathan Proctor, Defenders of Wildlife, 406-214-5327
2. Derek Goldman, Endangered Species Coalition, 406-721-3218
- Bog Turtle
• Location: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia
- Western Prairie Fringed Orchid
• Location: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota
- Flatwoods Salamander
• Location: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina
• Additional Media Contact: Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495
- Activists’ Choice: Polar Bear
• Location: Alaska
The full report, which includes information on each species and initial solutions, is available online at www.stopextinction.org.
The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect endangered species and their habitat.