Climate change threatens national parks in the western U.S.
Glacier National Park without glaciers? If global warming keeps on keepin’ on, 12 of the most famous U.S. national parks are at serious risk, says a report released yesterday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. Temperatures in the Western U.S. have risen twice as fast over the past five decades as temps in the rest of the country. Beetles that would normally be killed by cold weather are chowing down on trees that sustain Yellowstone’s grizzly bears. Drought and wildfires endanger wildlife and recreational activities. Within decades, mountaintops in some national parks could be snow-free in summer. The report calls for the Bush administration to put specific limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. Risks to humans, oceans, and fuzzy-wuzzy baby polar bears haven’t swayed the Bushies so far, but hey, maybe parks will be the tipping point.