This just in from Greenpeace UK media centre: 020 7865 8255 Fax 7865 8200 firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL THREE surviving species of African zebras could lose their stripes in as little as 50-70 years as global warming threatens their habitat and way of life, Greenpeace UK reveals. Zebras, horses and wild asses are all equids: long-lived animals that move quickly for their large size. Their teeth have evolved to crop and grind grass. Zebras have horse-like bodies, similar to stocky ponies. The most noticeable difference between zebras and horses -- for now -- is the zebras' distinctive striped coats, making them one of the most instantly-recognizable of Africa's ruminants, and a particular favourite with children.
The most numerous and widespread species in East Africa is the common or Burchell's zebra. Grevy's zebra, chiefly found in northern Kenya, was named for Jules Grevy, a president of France in the 1880s who received one from Ethiopia as a gift. The mountain zebra, Equus zebra, is, found in southern and southwestern Africa.
The zebra's coat can vary greatly in pattern, number and width of stripes. The stripes' disruptive coloration breaks up the outline of the body. At twilight, when their predators are most active, zebras appear indistinct.
Zebras' shiny coats dissipate over 70% of incoming heat. In one of the strange coincidences of science, the albedo or reflectance of a typical zebra's coat -- at around 31% - is identical to that of the entire planet Earth as seen from space. Sir John Houghton, the first chair of the IPCC's science working group, says albedo is a scientific measure of the percentage of radiant energy incident upon a surface that is reflected off that surface rather than transmitted through it or absorbed and emitted by it.
But this uncanny coincidence will not last long. As the Earth warms and polar or glacial ice melts, the planetary albedo is set to fall, causing a temperature feedback that will amplify global warming. Zebras, however, according to Dr. Ieuan ap Rhyl of the African Union's new International Zoological Survey Division, are responding to increasingly warmer ambient temperatures by a progressive reduction in the breadth of the black stripes on their coats. In each new generation, the mean thickness of each stripe is reduced by up to 6%, so that more of the zebra's coat will be able to reflect the sun's rays, helping to keep the zebra cool. In 50-70 years, says Dr. Ap Rhyl, the zebras' coats will appear very similar to grey horses' coats. The stripes will be gone.
Al Gore spoke up for the zebras on CBS 60 Minutes yesterday: "This is another wake-up call for the planet. How much more hard evidence do our leaders need before they act to protect the Earth's most precious creatures from the selfishness and greed of humankind? Political will, unlike zebra stripes, is a renewable resource."
Greenpeace stands for positive change through action. We defend the natural world and promote peace. We investigate, expose and confront environmental abuse by governments and corporations throughout the world. We champion environmentally responsible and socially just solutions, including scientific innovation. Our goal is to ensure the ability of the earth to nurture life in all its diversity. We have been working with the Zoological Survey of the African Union on this and other projects to save the continent's threatened wildlife.
Yes. It's a spoof -- from the inimitable Christopher Monckton. It came out a couple of days ago and fooled even some knowledgeable people -- showing how hard it is to send up people as absurd as the Warmists are. They have made so many outlandish claims in the past that it is hard to think of something more absurd that what they have already said.
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