NASA scientists have announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on Earth, exceeded only by 2017, 2016 and 2015. After 140 years of record-keeping, 18 out of 19 of Earth’s warmest years have occurred since 2001.
For humans, this means more destructive hurricanes, floods, forest fires, droughts, and bone-chilling Arctic blasts resulting in thousands of deaths, billions in property destruction and massive interruptions of life as we know it.
By 2100, an estimated 50% of all the world’s species could go extinct because of climate change.
- Bumblebees: Rising temperatures force bees north, disrupting access to the nectar and pollen they need to survive.
- Whales: Migration, feeding, and reproduction necessary for survival are disrupted by warming waters.
- Asian Elephants: Habitat is disappearing due to lower rainfall and higher temperatures.
- Giraffes: In addition to illegal poaching, shrinking habitat and disappearing food sources threaten their survival.
- Insects: 18% of insect species will die off due to warming by 2100; if the planet warms 3.2°C, that number rises to 49%.
- Oceanic Birds: Rising waters threaten to submerge their coastal habitats and nests completely.
- Sharks: Difficulty hunting and lower birth rates threaten sharks as ocean temperature and acidity rise worldwide.
- Monarch Butterflies: Monarchs can’t survive without milkweed, now being destroyed by hotter dryer land often damaged by pesticides.
- Great Apes: With nearly 75% of forest cover at risk due to climate change, their habitat is disappearing.
- Coral: Sustained heat stress causes coral bleaching, an often-deadly occurrence in which coral starves from a loss of nutrition.