Wednesday, June 24, 2009

White House Report: Climate Change Killing Species

The Obama Administration released a report last week that stated unequivocally that global warming is happening now and impacting our communities, our health and our natural resources. It also confirmed that climate change is already having impacts on animal and plant species throughout the United States.


The report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, finds that:

About two-thirds of the world’s polar bears are projected to be gone by the middle of this century. It is projected that there will be no wild polar bears in Alaska in 75 years

The pika, a small mammal whose habitat is limited to cold areas near the tops of mountains, is losing suitable habitat and more than one-third of the populations have gone extinct in recent decades.

Many migratory bird species are arriving earlier.

Large-scale shifts have occurred in the ranges of species and the timing of the
seasons and animal migration, and are very likely to continue.

Trees and other plants are shifting ranges. There will be fewer wildflowers as global warming causes earlier spring snowmelt.

Fires, insect pests, disease pathogens, and invasive weed species have increased, and these trends are likely to continue.


Salmon and other coldwater fish species in the United States are at particular risk from warming.

We may loose over half of the wild trout populations from the southern Appalachian Mountains, 60% of western trout populations, and 90% of bull trout.


Climate change already is causing significant alterations in marine ecosystems with important implications for fisheries and the people who depend on them.

Some of these changes have already led to coral bleaching, shifts in species ranges, increased storm intensity, dramatic reductions in sea ice and other significant changes to the nation’s coastlines and marine ecosystems.

Wildlife, birds, fish and plants are going to need lots of help to adapt to a changing world. Programs and funding are needed to rebuild wetlands and coastal marshes, nourish coral reefs, strengthen headwater forests, restore natural floodplains, protect and connect grassland and mountain corridors to serve as migratory paths for wildlife.

Congress is currently debating a climate change and energy bill, which includes programs to safeguard natural resources from the impacts of climate change. Industry lobbyists are trying to weaken the bill, including removing these key natural resources provisions. We are working with our member organizations to secure programs and funding that will safeguard our natural resources and ecosystems from the worst impacts of climate change.

Click here to send a letter to your member of Congress to ask them to support the natural resources adaptation provisions and funding in the climate change bill.

Thank you for help to save polar bears, pikas, pacific salmon, migratory birds, wildflowers, coral and thousands of other endangered species.

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