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Jul. 22, 2011

The 10% extinction distinction

by Neil Wagner

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CHECK OUT OUR SPECIAL APPEARANCE ON THE HUFFINGTON POST! Hope you enjoy the new WOE there AND here on Science Friday. We’d love to hear your comments.

 

The rabbit (or is it a hare?) in today’s strip wants the cockroach to take a bullet and be the 1 in 10 species to go extinct. But, thankfully for the cockroach, it doesn’t work that way.

Here’s what I understand about a new, comprehensive study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):

  • Lots of previous studies have made predictions about the risk of extinction that species face specifically due to climate change
  • Since that time, more recent studies have observed dwindling species populations
  • New research conducted by the University of Exeter combines the first two groups of studies to confirm that the “climate change” species are, in fact, in as bad a shape — or worse — than the original estimates

The new research predicts one in 10 species will be extinct by 2100 if climate change continues on its current course. Of course, it seems like we often hear that climate change will probably be WORSE than we expect! YIKES!.

The study’s lead author Dr Ilya Maclean says, “It is time to stop using the uncertainties as an excuse for not acting.”

Extensive coverage from PhysOrg.com

Coverage from Time Magazine and Science Daily

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Your creative idea could be chosen to appear in the September 23rd edition of What on Earth? which highlights Moving Planet, the worldwide event being planned by Bill McKibben’s 350.org environmental organization. Entering the contest is easy:

  1. Think of a green mode of transportation (Walking? Electric car? HANG GLIDING?) — the wilder the better — we want your craziest green ideas!
  2. Post your idea on the “What on Earth?” Facebook page www.facebook.com/whatonearthcomics by September 3, 2011.

That’s it! The winner will first be announced through 350.org. The What on Earth? comic strip featuring your idea will be circulated around the world including right here. Good luck!

Enter today!

 

About Neil Wagner

Neil Wagner's What on Earth? comic strip uses humor to discuss global warming.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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