Hydropower

Renewable Energy is Needed to Protect U.S. Wildlife

Incentives for greater investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are needed to protect both people and wildlife, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

WASHINGTON, DC (US) 2002-02-12 [SolarAccess.com] “Global warming resulting from human activities will likely mean growing threats to our nation’s wildlife, more trouble with invasive species, and significant environmental changes that jeopardize our quality of life in the near future,” according a book released by NWF, ‘Wildlife Responses to Climate Change.’ The peer-reviewed research features eight case studies by researchers that demonstrate how global warming and associated climate change is affecting wildlife in North America. “Global warming has come down to Earth for the wildlife right in our backyards,” says NWF President Mark Van Putten. “The effects are already happening and will likely worsen unless we get serious about reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to help slow global warming.” The book predicts that invasive plants and red fire ants, among other species, may expand their range, reducing water and food for native wildlife and humans. Changes in climate may alter essential habitat for grizzly bears and other animals by reducing their food sources, and may significantly alter intertidal habitats for marine life, as well as shifting the balance of predators and prey throughout the ecosystem. “This research confirms our suspicions about the effect global warming is already having on our environment, and gives us a glimpse of what is likely to occur in the future,” says Van Putten. The findings underscore the need to reduce immediately the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the United States. Heat-trapping gases are released from the use of coal and oil in power plants and cars. Without reductions, global warming could occur more quickly over the next century and with an even greater toll on people and wildlife, the book concludes. “While global warming is a serious threat, it is not an impossible challenge,” adds Van Putten. “What this book tells us is that we need to act quickly on the solutions within our reach.” NWF says carbon emissions must be limited from electric power plants, while higher fuel efficiency standards for cars need to be enacted. Government must also provide incentives for greater investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.