|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 11, 2007|
|Contact:||Jim Stratton, NPCA Alaska Regional Director, 907.277.6722 Ext. 23|
New Report Says Global Warming An "Unnatural Disaster" For Alaska's National Parks
National Parks Conservation Association Highlights Alarming Effects of Climate Change, Challenges Congress and White House to Take Action
Anchorage, AK - The nation's leading park advocacy group, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today called global warming an "unnatural disaster" for national parks in Alaska and across the country, and called on Congress and the Administration to take action now before the centennial of the National Park System.
"Alaska is 'ground zero' for climate change in the United States, with temperatures rising almost twice as fast as elsewhere" said NPCA Alaska Regional Director Jim Stratton. "And because national parks are so closely tied to the lives of rural Alaskans who rely on them for subsistence, we must take actions now to preserve these remaining wild places."
NPCA's new report, Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and Our National Parks, warns that if Congress and the Administration do not take action now to slow or halt global climate change, caribou ranges and their population size may become less predictable as the tundra ecosystem they rely on is pushed steadily north, with up to 90 percent of Alaska's tundra predicted to disappear by 2100.
Additionally, Chinook salmon is increasingly infested with a single-celled parasite previously unknown in Alaskan salmon; scientists link the parasite's appearance to rising water temperature. Close to one-third of salmon harvested along the Yukon are infected with the parasite, rendering the salmon unusable.
"Congress and the Administration should take action now to preserve our national heritage," added Stratton. "We have less than 10 years until the 100th birthday of our National Park System-now is the time for action. Taking care of our national parks should be a national priority."
NPCA recommends that Congress and the Administration act now to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants and other leading greenhouse gas polluters. Significant pollution reductions now will help avoid the worst global warming-related damages to the natural and cultural treasures protected by our national parks.
NPCA also recommends that Alaska include climate change in resource management plans to ensure healthy and strong populations of fish and wildlife, as global warming is making it increasingly difficult to predict population fluctuations and set sustainable harvest levels. The report also recommends that state and local governments help rural villages become more energy efficient, as large numbers of remote communities depend on diesel generators for power.
NPCA's report is available online at www.npca.org/globalwarming