This time it’s not about polar bears and ice caps. Instead, it’s flooded campgrounds, stunted Redwoods and Yosemite waterfalls reduced to a trickle.
California’s Natural Wonders Could Disappear
A new report entitled “California’s National Parks in Peril: the Threats of Climate Disruption” found that unless we reduce heat-trapping pollution in the near future, some of California’s natural wonders will disappear over the next 90 years.
“We’re trying to illustrate that the ways we affect the climate affect the places we love,” said Stephen Saunders, president of the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, which released the report, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Temperatures Are Rising
Saunders estimates that if the use of fossil fuels continues to increase at a moderate rate, average temperatures in Yosemite National Park could climb by 7.5 degrees by the latter third of the 21st century. And highs in places like Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve could beat those normally found in Death Valley, the hottest spot in North America.
And the results of all these climate changes? Saunders predicts that:
* In Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, giant sequoias may not be resilient to the water stress and increased wildfire expected with rapid climate change
* Beaches, wetlands and picnic areas at Point Reyes National Seashore could be inundated as sea levels rise between 2 and 4.7 feet
* Less snow and more rain could mean earlier, longer and more frequent dry spells for Yosemite waterfalls
More Wildfires, Less Precipitation
This report comes on the heels of a paper from the California Energy Commission, which concluded that California is already feeling the effects of climate change, including more frequent, longer and larger wildfires, a warming Lake Tahoe, a shorter winter rainy season, and falling snowpack levels.
And yes, it is about the money. Theo Spencer, a senior advocate in NRDC’s Climate Center, said: “The natural and cultural resources of California’s national parks are directly linked to over one billion dollars in economic activity and 19,000 jobs. By acting now to reduce the pollution that causes global warming, we will preserve these jobs and create new ones while continuing America’s long-standing position of technological leadership.”
Don’t Mess With Nature
While this paper deals primarily with California, it is yet another warning that there is a price to pay for messing with our environment. Climate change in California may pose a serious threat to the state’s economy, with fewer visitors seeking out its national parks, but it is also disturbing the balance of nature.
And Mother Nature is getting mad!
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