This should help give us an idea of how poorly climate change and its far-reaching impacts are understood by the media. And not just the right-wing media, whose ideological opposition to policy solutions proposed thus far gives them a reason (though not justification) to dismiss global warming. No, as this clip demonstrates, even the supposedly left-leaning, scary-socialist NPR is confused by climate -- hear morning host Steve Inskeep laugh it up with his guest, Politifact editor Bill Adair as they mock Obama's old campaign pledge to dedicate funding to help species adapt to climate change:Here's the transcript, via Wonk Room:
INSKEEP: What are some of the more obscure promises on the campaign trail they said they were going to work on?Neither Inskeep nor Adair actually understand what 'helping species adapt to climate change' really means. But hundreds of scientific papers have been written on the topic of species adaptation to climate (just Google 'help species adapt climate change').
ADAIR: One we really enjoyed was the Obama promise to help species adapt to climate change. We decided that meant air conditioners for bears, which are probably not going to get funded now that Republicans are controlling the house.
INSKEEP: Did he misspeak? "Help species adapt"? Not not deal with climate change, but help species adapt to climate change.
ADAIR: Well, that's what the promise said. He got very detailed in his policy statements on the campaign. It's clear he was trying to appeal to very precise constituencies. And so we saw a lot of promises like that.
This is because climate change will make many ecosystems increasingly inhospitable to the wildlife currently adapted to live within them. This will likely lead to mass migrations, as plants and animals attempt to stay in the climate they're accustomed to. A changing climate will also produce a slew of other complex impacts on species, such as increased competition for resources, more exposure to diseases, and so on.
As a result, many scientists fear that changes in the climate may occur too fast for most species to adapt -- and that they'll need the assistance of biologists, as well as some serious conservation planning, if they hope to survive. A team of UK scientists published a study speculating that without help, at the current rate of warming 18-35% of the planet's species are "committed to extinction".
More on Climate Change Adaptation
Preparing for the Worst: Adaptation Becoming Crucial Part of Climate Change Plans
Moving Up: Climate Change Forces Species to Higher Elevations
Four Species Being Pushed Off Mountaintops by Climate Change
9 Ways Climate Change Has Animals Running (Flying and Swimming)