Every year on February 27, Polar Bears International (PBI) challenges individuals and businesses to commit to reducing carbon emissions through its Thermostat Challenge. Saving energy produced by carbon-based fuels reduces emissions and can slow global warming.
Global warming is having a large impact on Arctic ecosystems, particularly on sea ice which polar bears rely to reach their seal prey.Â Research published by PBI's chief scientist, Steven Amstrup, shows that unless action is taken to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming, two thirds of the world's polar bears could be lost by the middle of the century and all of them by the end of the century.
"The window of opportunity to reduce the effects of climate change in the Arctic is closing rapidly," said Douglas Clark, U of S Centennial Chair in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change. "We found that the region is changing quickly already. Communities around the Arctic are observing changes in sea ice and reporting more and more conflicts with polar bears. Climate change is not just an Arctic issue though; what goes on in the Arctic doesn't stay there. Loss of Arctic sea ice already appears to be affecting weather patterns much farther south. "
"We applaud the leadership shown by the U of S in taking the Thermostat Challenge and working to reduce its carbon footprint," said Krista Wright, executive director of PBI. "Through this step, the university is helping raise awareness of how our daily actions impact the polar bear's sea ice habitat. At the same time, they're showing their commitment to action on climate change and a sustainable future. We hope other universities will be inspired to do the same."
Clark gave a presentation on campus today on the ability of the Arctic to adapt to climate change and what that means for polar bears, Arctic ecosystems, and people living there. A lead author on the Arctic Council's Arctic Resilience Report, Clark is part of the team assessing the region's vulnerability to abrupt change.
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University of Saskatchewan