By Laura Bailey
A new federal climate change report gives a troubling forecast for Alaska. But within the news is a hopeful takeaway for those of us who really want to make a difference in addressing global warming.
Temperatures in Alaska could rise a whopping 13° F in the next 50 years as a result of global warming, according to the major climate change report released by the White House June 16.
If such changes occur, Alaska’s Arctic could be without ice during summertime within this century, creating devastating results for ice-dependent species, such as seals and polar bears.
In fact, the report’s projections say that there will be no wild polar bears left in Alaska in 75 years.
Alaska is already experiencing global warming impacts more severely than any other region in the nation.
While this forecast is gloomy at best, the good news is that the report confirms that acting now to limit greenhouse gas emissions could decrease the severity of global warming impacts significantly.
The Wilderness Society has been a strong advocate for a piece of legislation that would do just that. The Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill now being considered by Congress would limit carbon emissions from polluters and invest in a clean energy infrastructure for the country.
It would also take the very positive step of creating funds to help animals and wildlands adapt to changing climate.
This is important because the chances of species surviving the changes ahead will depend not only on the rate of continuing change but also on what strategies are implemented to help them cope.
The Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill may be voted on by the House of Representatives as early as this week. You can help to pass this important legislation here.