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Q: Is it possible that climate change is responsible for the extinction of plants and animals?

A: Globally, up to 1 million species are at risk of extinction because of human activities, according to a United Nations report released in May. Many experts say a “mass extinction event” – only the sixth in the past half-billion years – is already underway. More at USA Today



Q: How does climate change affect migration?

A: 1% of the world is already a barely livable hot zone. By 2020, that could rise to 19%. ( Not only has the great climate migration begun throughout the world but, as wildfires burn in the west, hurricanes batter the east and droughts and floods wreak damage across the nation, where will Americans move? More at ProPublica


Q: Can planet earth feed 10 billion people?

A: Farmers can’t plant much more land, because almost every accessible acre of arable soil is already in use. Nor can the use of fertilizer be increased; it is already being overused everywhere except some parts of Africa, and the runoff is polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. Irrigation, too, cannot be greatly expanded—most land that can be irrigated already is. In so far as beef currently requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more GHG emissions per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, such as beans, perhaps we need to shift our crops for livestock feed to plant proteins.  More at WRI


Q: How do climate and population affect one another?

A: Rapid population growth exacerbates vulnerability to the negative consequences of climate change, and exposes growing numbers of people to climate risk. Population growth is also one of the drivers of the growth of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. More at Population Action International

A: The world’s population doubled in the past 50 years and is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, ( according to the United Nations. “Every single person on the planet should have the knowledge and ability to choose for themselves if and when they want to have children and how many, says Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director for the Center for Biological Diversity. More at MPR news

A: More people means more demand for oil, gas, coal and other fuels mined or drilled from below the Earth’s surface that, when burned, spew enough carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere to trap warm air inside like a greenhouse. According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. More at Scientific American


Q: How has climate change affected hurricanes?

A: Human-made global warming creates conditions that increase the chances of extreme weather. In some ocean basins, the intensification of hurricanes over time has been linked to rising ocean temperatures. Since 1970, sea surface temperatures worldwide have warmed by about an average of 0.1°C per decade. More at Union of Concerned Scientists


Q: What are the consequences of extreme heat?

A: Climate change is a pattern of change in average weather that’s happening over many years, such as warming temperatures. With climate change, extreme heat events are on the rise. More areas will likely be affected by extreme heat more often, more severely, and for longer periods of time. More at EPA


Q: What about our freshwater lakes and rivers?

A: As air temperatures rise, water temperatures do also—particularly in shallow stretches of rivers and surface waters of lakes. Streams and lakes may become unsuitable for cold-water fish.  In a warming climate, a warmer upper layer in deep lakes slows down air exchange—a process that normally adds oxygen to the water. This, in turn, often creates large “dead zones”—areas depleted of oxygen and unable to support life. More at Union of Concerned Scientists


Q: How is climate change polluting the oceans?

A: The same greenhouse gases causing climate change are also having disastrous effects on the ocean. Our oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide, rapidly causing them to become more acidic. This is threatening the habitat of every species that calls the ocean home, particularly vulnerable coral as well as many types of plankton, which form the base of the food chain.More at Greenpeace


Q: How is climate change accelerating flooding?

A: Floods are the most common (and amongst the most deadly) natural disasters in the United States. They have brought destruction to every state and nearly every county, and in many areas they are getting worse. As global warming continues to exacerbate sea level rise and extreme weather, our nation’s floodplains are expected to grow by approximately 45 percent by century’s end. Here’s how climate change plays a role in flooding, and how we can better keep our heads above water. More at NRDC

A: The increase in high-tide flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts since 2000 has been “extraordinary,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported, with the frequency of flooding in some cities growing fivefold during that time. That shift is damaging homes, imperiling the safety of drinking water, inundating roads and otherwise hurting coastal communities, the agency said. More at The New York Times.


Q: How will growing drought affect the U.S.?

A: Across the United States , the risk of drought is expected to grow due to reduced precipitation and higher temperatures caused by climate change. Drought’s far-reaching impacts can ripple through communities, regions, watersheds, economies and ecosystems. More at C2es