It's not just a threat to polar ice caps, low-lying Pacific islands, and Alaska's glaciers
and permafrost. Climate change will have profound impacts on the Rocky Mountain
West, too: on our water supply, our recreation, our agriculture, our wildlife.
One quick example that ought to put a twist in your waders: a study by Defenders of
Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council predicts that habitat for some
species of trout and salmon could decline as much as 42 percent by 2090.
If chasing powder is more of a concern than chasing cutthroats, there's also plenty to
worry about. Colorado College's 2006 State of the Rockies Report looked at the regional
implications of global warming and found, among other worries, that most of the ski
counties in Colorado face about a 50 percent reduction in snowpack by 2085
We all know how dependent the interior West is on mountain snowpack for its water
supplies. Global warming is expected to make it far more difficult for the region to meet
its water needs . In addition, it is likely that periods of drought will become more severe,
as will wildfires.
Anyone with lingering doubts that human activity is causing climate change should
read the 2007 report to policymakers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .
For further information on climate change, visit the Union of Concerned Scientists
or the Pew Center on Global Climate Change . And click here to learn ten things you can
do to reduce your carbon footprint .