Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Climate Change Strategy

By Mitch Merry

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released their proposed Climate Change Strategy marking a positive first step in protecting species from the threats caused by a warming world. The Service says that the plan will “help guide the Fish and Wildlife Service’s response to impacts such as changing wildlife migration patterns, the spread of invasive species, changing precipitation patterns and rising sea levels.” It is a strong recognition by the administration of the scientific concensus that human activity is changing the climate system and that the effects on plants, fish and wildlife will be drastic if left unchecked.

The framework for the pioneering plan has 3 elements:
  • Adaptation- Limiting the effects of warming on species through habitat restoration and similar projects.
  • Mitigation- Reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to limit the rate at which warming occurs.
  • Engagement-Greater public and private involvement worldwide in seeking solutions to help wildlife cope with climate change.
While the plan is a laudable launching point for dealing with climate change, it is the first in what needs to be multiple steps. The plan is based in part on legislation currently pending before Congress. The legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, must be passed soon and with robust funding for wildlife adaptation. Please contact your Senator and ask them to ensure that provisions to safeguard natural resource are included in the climate change bill.

To learn more about safeguarding species in a warming world, visit the Endangered Species Coalition website.

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