Editorial: Climate-change report validates our biggest fears | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: Climate-change report validates our biggest fears

“The region’s rich diversity of plant and animal species will be increasingly stressed. Widespread tree death and fires, which already have caused billions of dollars in economic losses, are expected to increase. Tourism and recreation also face climate-change challenges, including reduced streamflow and a shorter snow season, influencing everything from the ski industry to lake and river recreation.”

So reads a passage about climate change’s effect on the Southwest region — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah — gleaned from the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s report issued this week.

While the report is ripe with troubling forecasts regarding the byproducts of climate change, it is indisputable that Colorado residents have experienced much of this already. From the bark-beetle invasion to wildfires that come from our drier forests, and from the prolonged droughts to reduced snowpack, we are bearing witness to the results of climate change. And this just scratches the surface.

We hope this report spurs elected leaders to address climate change for what it is — a real threat to our quality of life and the earth that we inhabit. As Sen. Mark Udall recently said in a Capitol Hill speech, in which he implored leaders to pass a Renewable Energy Standard, Congress must take action to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions.

For sure, there always will be deniers of climate change, and it can be a fool’s errand to even attempt to change their minds. But this week’s report hammers home what has been a scientific fact: Climate change is real, and we are seeing it firsthand. Those who don’t see that simply aren’t paying attention.

To read the full report, go to http://nca2014.global change.gov/report.


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