80 years is the time we have left to save polar bears from extinction, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change . Global warming is clearly blamed. And the conclusion is clear: if nothing changes, the natural habitat of some 25,000 polar bears that inhabit the arctic regions will be destroyed, scientists are alarmed. Today, attempts to find alternatives to this natural disaster are legion. But no viable solution has yet been found.
In this region where global warming is felt twice as much as elsewhere, the sea ice melts every year during the summer period. On the other hand, the surface of this sea of ice decreases year after year: according to the researchers, the surface covered by the ice decreases by about 13% per decade. A situation that has lasted for 40 years.
For Arnaud Goffier, of the WWF association, the urgency is clear: we must drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions if we want to save this species. "Even if we respect the Paris agreement which brings us on a trajectory of warming of over three degrees, polar bears could disappear by 2100", he warns on Europe 1.
Hypotheses but few solutions
The hypotheses to remedy this are not lacking: some argue that the animal could change its diet, an attitude that would allow it to survive. The others plan to move them to Antarctica. But for Arnaud Goffier, no need to go so far: "We had an opportunity with the coronavirus crisis which showed that we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a little over 10% in less than two months. That's what you have to do every year.
The planet has gained more than 1 ° C since the pre-industrial era, already leading to an increase in heat waves, droughts or floods. Classifying the polar bear as "critically endangered" on the famous red list of the International Conservation Union (IUCN), which considers them only "vulnerable", would probably not change the fate of the arctic plantigrade.
Many endangered species are endangered by poaching or the direct destruction of their habitat by humans. But "we cannot build a fence to protect polar bears from the rising temperature," said Steven Amstrup, one of the study's authors and chief scientist for the NGO Polar Bears International, to AFP. "To save the species, some are talking about a reintroduction of animals bred in captivity, or even their move to Antarctica. Uneasy, according to Steven Amstrup. Who concludes, pessimistically:" It may be necessary to consider slaughtering the last bears fleeces, instead of letting them starve. "