Climate change doing a number on U.S. West, says USDA report
Climate change is having “profound impacts” on the U.S. West and will continue to do so in coming decades, says a new report spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Titled “The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity,” the report focuses on Western rangelands, arid lands, forests, and fisheries. Its predictions are numerous and invariably grim, including extinction of desert species such as the Joshua tree, significant economic losses for the livestock industry, invasion of nonnative plant life, salmon dieoffs in too-warm streams, and increases in such diverse and unwelcome phenomena as drought, heat waves, wildfires, rainstorms, flooding, water pollution, erosion, and insect infestation. Whee! The report is one of 21 planned studies by various federal agencies under the auspices of the controversial U.S. Climate Change Science Program.