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WATCHThey Came From Climate Change!

The National Wildlife Federation created the Climate Invaders report & accompanying video to bring attention to a very real problem — global warming is giving a boost to some very unsavory critters, helping them settle into areas where once they were unable to survive. Some are creeping up from lower elevations & into warmer areas, while others are finding it easier to invade from foreign soil.

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As climate change causes winters to warm & seasons to shift, a host of exotic invasives and destructive natives are marching their way into our lives at an ever increasing rate. These climate invaders will continue to spread disease, destroy valuable natural resources and push out the native plants and wildlife Americans cherish if global warming continues unabated.

According to the report:

  • Milder winters are projected to increase the range of deer tick populations by 68 percent in North America by later this century. 
  • Within the lifespan of a child born today, the range of the red imported fire ant in the United States could expand northward by about 80 miles and expand in total area by 21 percent as climate change makes new areas suitable for their survival.
  • Poison ivy is expected to become more “toxic” as a result of increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • If summer precipitation declines significantly, this could expand the amount of suitable land for cheatgrass by up to 45 percent, bringing increased wildfire risks with it.
  • Several species of the water-hogging salt cedar shrub are poised to take full advantage of a changing climate in the western United States, where water is already scarce.
  • Absent the severe winter cold which kills over-wintering beetle larvae, pine bark beetle populations have exploded to unprecedented levels across the Western United States, killing billions of trees.
  • Climate change is likely to aid further range expansion northward in the United States of the Asian tiger mosquito, increasing disease transmission potential.

But it’s not too late to stop the invasion. “To meet the challenge before us, Congress must pass climate legislation that includes a significant dedicated investment to protect and restore the rivers, coasts, forests, and wild lands threatened by climate change,” says NWF’s Derek Brockbank.

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