While world leaders fret over how best to combat climate change, many animals and plants are already feeling the effects. Here are 11 species, as chosen by the International Union For Conservation of Nature’s climate change specialist group, which are under threat from global warming.
Ivory gulls, whose numbers in the Canadian Arctic have dropped 80 percent, are seeing their foraging habitat shrink rapidly due to global warming.
Lemuroid Ringtail Possum
The Lemuroid Ringtail Possum is restricted to two small areas of upland cloud rainforest in the Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Unable to tolerate temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) and sensitive to heat waves, the rare white form of the species (pictured here) is projected to disappear this century.
Ringed seals, which live in Arctic sea ice habitats year-round, are in rapid decline as ice melts. They are born in snow lairs, mate under the sea ice and use the sea ice as a resting platform in other seasons of the year. They also feed largely on ice-associated prey.
The Lungless Frog of Borneo lives much of its life in fast and cold streams and rivers in Indonesia. As waters warm and the oxygen rates decline, the frog could find these waterways uninhabitable. Climate change is also expected to bring more floods and droughts to the region, which could impact the frog.
The Quiver tree in Namibia and in the Northern Cape of South Africa thrives in desert and semi-desert climatic conditions. Known for its large succulent leaves and a water-storing system, the trees could contract in the north and central parts of its range as temperatures rise.
Found only on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Haleakalā silversword plant is restricted to high elevations on the dormant Haleakalā volcano. Shifting weather patterns (and particularly increased temperature and a decrease in rainfall) are causing adult plants to die, and reducing the survival of new seedlings.