The effects of global warming
The time is now! That was the powerful message of the Congressionally authorized National Climate Assessment. Prepared by more than 300 experts, the report concluded that we need to address climate change immediately.
Why? Because we, in the United States, are already experiencing the effects of global warming. And for us in the Pacific Northwest, the message was brought home by the report’s discussion of the impacts in our area. These include increased wildfire, insect outbreaks such as the mountain pine beetle and tree disease, all resulting from climate change that is already causing widespread tree die-off.
If we continue business as usual, our forest types will dramatically change. As for the Pacific Northwest ocean, the carbon dioxide is combining with the water to make it more acidic. This threatens our commercial marine species such as oysters, as well as those along the food chain, like the Pacific Salmon. We have also seen reduced snowpacks, which are affecting stream flows.
The bottom line: Climate change is an assault on our rural resources. The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing rules to cut deadly carbon pollution from coal plants. There are those who question doing so because of possible costs. But with our forests under attack, acidic oceans eating at our commercial marine life and snowpacks diminishing, the question is not “Can we afford to address climate change?” Rather, we need to ask, “Can we afford not to?” It is clear we can no longer wait to fight climate change.
The time is indeed now.