The team’s study acknowledges the special problems of defining conservation criteria for species endangered by future climate change, because the negative effects of climate change may build up over time.
“Listing the Emperor penguin as an endangered species would reflect the scientific assessment of the threats facing an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem under climate change,” said Caswell. “When a species is at risk due to one factor – in this case, climate change – it can be helped, sometimes greatly, by amelioration of other factors. That’s why the Endangered Species Act is written to protect an endangered species in a number of ways – exploitation, habitat, disturbance, etc. – even if those factors are not the cause of its current predicament.”
“Listing the emperor penguin will provide some tools to improve fishing practices of US vessels in the Southern Ocean, and gives a potential tool to help reduce CO2 emissions in the US under the Clear Air and Clean Water Acts,” Jenouvrier said.
The authors offer recommendations and considerations for new international conservation paradigms, including the identification of potential refuges for preserving populations. They point out that Ross Sea will be the last place impacted by climate change, and that conservation management strategies should focus there.
Click here to read/download the Full Study – “Projected Continent-wide Declines of the Emperor Penguin under Climate Change”.