The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kathleen O'Neil, Associate Director, Media Relations 202.419.3717

NPCA Testifies to Global Warming Impacts on National Parks


Climate change is the greatest threat facing national parks,
the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the
nation's leading voice for our national parks, today told a
congressional subcommittee at a special hearing in the desert.
Researchers predict Glacier National Park will lose all of its glaciers
within 20 years, and some models suggest Joshua Tree National Park will
have no living Joshua trees left within a century.

NPCA's California Desert Office Program Manager Mike Cipra testified
during an oversight field hearing held this morning just outside Joshua
Tree National Park on the "Impacts of Climate Change on America's
National Parks." The hearing was called by the House Subcommittee on
National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which is chaired by Rep. Raul
M. Grijalva (D-AZ).

National parks are already showing the effects of climate change,
including decreasing snow and rainfall, increased pests and disease,
abnormal flooding and fires, and a shift in the habitat ranges of
plants and animals. Cipra called for Congress to provide funding to
help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change while also taking
steps to slow global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Cipra said NPCA supports providing the National Park Service with a
dedicated funding stream for this need, such as could be provided from
a percentage of profits raised by the sale of carbon pollution
allowances under a cap-and-trade policy. Such funding would allow land
managers to plan long-term and ecosystem-wide instead of making
piecemeal changes with limited effect. The cost would be far outweighed
by the economic benefits of having working ecosystems and protecting
keystone species, he said.

"As Americans, we have faced tremendous environmental challenges
before," Cipra testified. "We met these challenges with courage, with
urgency, and with a coordinated response. ...Our health and economic
future depends on how we meet this challenge."

Cipra's full testimony will be online at
after the hearing. For more information on this issue, read NPCA's
report: "Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and Our National Parks" at and our podcast on climate change in Joshua Tree National Park:

NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.