|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 7, 2009|
|Contact:||Kathleen O'Neil, Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717|
NPCA Testifies to Global Warming Impacts on National Parks
Climate change is the greatest threat facing national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation’s leading voice for our national parks, today told a congressional subcommittee at a special hearing in the desert. Researchers predict Glacier National Park will lose all of its glaciers within 20 years, and some models suggest Joshua Tree National Park will have no living Joshua trees left within a century.
NPCA’s California Desert Office Program Manager Mike Cipra testified during an oversight field hearing held this morning just outside Joshua Tree National Park on the “Impacts of Climate Change on America’s National Parks.” The hearing was called by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which is chaired by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ).
National parks are already showing the effects of climate change, including decreasing snow and rainfall, increased pests and disease, abnormal flooding and fires, and a shift in the habitat ranges of plants and animals. Cipra called for Congress to provide funding to help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change while also taking steps to slow global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Cipra said NPCA supports providing the National Park Service with a dedicated funding stream for this need, such as could be provided from a percentage of profits raised by the sale of carbon pollution allowances under a cap-and-trade policy. Such funding would allow land managers to plan long-term and ecosystem-wide instead of making piecemeal changes with limited effect. The cost would be far outweighed by the economic benefits of having working ecosystems and protecting keystone species, he said.
“As Americans, we have faced tremendous environmental challenges before,” Cipra testified. “We met these challenges with courage, with urgency, and with a coordinated response. …Our health and economic future depends on how we meet this challenge.”
Read Cipra’s full testimony here. For more information on this issue, read NPCA's report: “Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and Our National Parks” and listen to our podcast on climate change in Joshua Tree National Park: