A lonesome future awaits us as we sacrifice more and more species for the sake of our selfish ventures. Polar bears could all but disappear within the span of a human lifetime as climate change starve them into extinction, a recent study predicts.
The white bears that we've all come to love has become "the poster child of climate change", says Dr. Peter Molnar of the University of Toronto. "Polar bears are already sitting at the top of the world; if the ice goes, they have no place to go."
The results of the study show the possible consequences of warming global temperatures.
Polar bear subpopulations to starve to death
The scientists examined 13 of the polar bear subpopulations that represent about 80% of the total population, calculating the bears' energy requirements to determine how they could survive while fasting.
They concluded that the bears would eventually starve to death since due to the climate-model projections of ice-free days to 2100 — if present rates of warming continue — the time they would be forced to fast would exceed what they are capable of.
The sea-ice loss would be another factor
The extended fasting period would mean that bear would move as little as possible to hold onto their remaining energy; however, the sea-ice loss due to global warming would create even more problems by requiring them to spend more energy, thereby, affecting their survival.
Even the projections that described a future where greenhouse gas emissions would peak by 2040, then to begin declining, resulted in many of the subgroups being wiped out completely.
The study concluded that, on the current trends, polar bears in 12 of 13 subpopulations analyzed won't be a common sight within 80 years in the Arctic due to its warming twice as fast as Earth on the whole, scientists reported in Nature Climate Change.
The trajectory we're on right now is not a good one, but we can still do something
Dr. Steven Amstrup, who conceived the study and is chief scientist of Polar Bears International, stated, "Showing how imminent the threat is for different polar bear populations is another reminder that we must act now to head off the worst of future problems faced by us all."
"The trajectory we're on now is not a good one, but if society gets its act together, we have time to save polar bears. And if we do, we will benefit the rest of life on Earth, including ourselves."