DENVER – Summer in Colorado is telling us a lot about climate change and where we’re headed in the future, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. NWF senior scientist Doug Inkley says the heat waves we’ve been experiencing are just the tip of the shrinking iceberg.
“We now have a record-low amount of ice in the arctic, we have a record amount of ice melt in Greenland. You put all three of these together and global warming is extremely apparent.”
Inkley says the same conditions are contributing to devastating wildfires, crop damage and an influx of destructive pests and the diseases some carry, like West Nile Virus. NWF points out that the past 12 months are the hottest ever recorded in the U.S.
Inkley says the issue of climate change is collective in nature; we all face the consequences and each of us can participate in the solution.
“It hurts us in our pocketbook, it hurts us in our food sources, it hurts us in our ability to endure the hot summers, and we need to do something about it and we can, but we need to have the guts, as a nation, to step forward.”
Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of the Wilderness Workshop, worries that some lawmakers are taking advantage of one of the symptoms of climate change in Colorado, the bark beetle.
“All of a sudden this is an opportunity to gut our environmental laws based on false attribution of the problem and really, not addressing the real cause this year which is climate change.”
In terms of financial impact, the NWF report notes that the cost of battling wildfires, now about $3 billion a year, has tripled since the 1990s. The report recommends Congress pass legislation that limits greenhouse gas emissions while spurring clean energy such as wind and solar power.
See the full report at www.nwf.org.