The Emperor news blows

The Emperor penguins, which earned many new fans after March of the Penguins chronicled their long, cold journey across Antarctica to mate, could be close to extinction by 2100, according to a new study.

The penguins rely on sea ice cover for their food source—krill and the fish that eat them. Based on predictions of reduced sea ice cover, an estimated 95 percent of them will be gone in less than a century, leaving about 600 breeding pairs in the world. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceonographic Institute used projections of sea ice coverage from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last report, as well as data describing the penguins’ mating patterns and breeding success.

While it’s possible the penguins could shift their breeding patterns with the climate in order to survive, lead author Stephanie Jenouvrier said it’s not likely. BBC News reports her as saying, “Unlike some other Antarctic bird species that have altered their life cycles, penguins don’t catch on so quickly. They are long-lived organisms, so they adapt slowly. This is a problem because the climate is changing very fast.”

Just before leaving office, the Bush administration finalized a revision to the Endangered Species Act to prevent considering the impact of global warming when listing a species under it. It was one of several “midnight orders” the Obama administration is now revisiting. However, since the rule has already gone into effect, reversing it could be a long process but could also be accomplished by Congress through the Congressional Review Act.