Climate change is already impacting our communities, our health and safety and our natural resources. Global warming is threatening wildlife, fish and plants who are already on the brink of extinction. Melting sea ice, warming ocean and river waters, shifting life cycles and migration are impacting endangered species, including polar bears, lynx, coral, salmon and migratory birds.
Congress is working on energy and climate change legislation that sets a first-ever cap on global warming pollution and helps reduce the impact of climate change on our communities, our health and our natural resources. Endangered species -and species put at risk of extinction due to climate change - would benefit from these efforts.
It is critical that Congress take action this year to advance global warming solutions and this legislation is a good start, but should also be strengthened. Industry lobbyists are trying to weaken the bill, including removing key programs and funding that would protect natural resources from the impacts of climate change.
Please send a letter to your member of Congress asking them to ensure that provisions to safeguard natural resource are included in the energy and climate bill.
Natural resources are the backbone of public health and the American economy. Healthy natural systems provide clean water, clean air and protect communities from catastrophic weather related disasters, ranging from hurricanes to floods to forest fires. Outdoor recreation, which is based on our nation's natural environment and includes hunting, fishing, camping, climbing, hiking, paddling, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and other activities, contributes a total of $730 billion annually to the economy, supporting 6.5 million jobs (1 of every 20 jobs in the U.S.), and stimulates 8% of all consumer spending, according to The Outdoor Foundation. The economic value of the natural environment is far higher when the vast range of ecosystem services is also included; conservative estimates tally these benefits at trillions of dollars annually. Given the grave threats posed by global warming, investing in our natural resources today will provide huge economic benefits for generations.
Please support the natural resources safeguards in the energy and climate change bill. It is critically important that we develop a federal plan to protect or adapt natural resources, including vulnerable wildlife and plants, to the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification. Scientific centers within NOAA and USGS would help guide adaptation efforts and coordinate needed research. Safeguarding our natural resources from climate change will help keep our communities safe and protected.
The need for funding for natural resources adaptation far exceeds what is allocated currently. At a minimum, 5 percent of the value of the total potential auction revenues is needed for natural resources adaptation. The process used to distribute this funding also needs to ensure that the revenues are dedicated to these purposes and cannot be misdirected elsewhere.
Thank you for working to protect our communities and our natural resources from climate change.