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Hunter and angler warns of threat from climate change

November 6, 2013

The recently released report by the worldwide Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”

So it’s no coincidence that the Environmental Protection Agency is finally moving forward with the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.

Twenty-five years ago, NASA climate scientist James Hansen warned Congress that manmade carbon pollution was accumulating in earth’s atmosphere at a dangerous rate. Today the evidence of dramatic change bears him out. Last year was America’s hottest year on record and 2000-2009 was the hottest decade.

As a life-long hunter and angler, I’ve personally witnessed the unnatural changes to Pennsylvania’s special places and the wildlife that inhabit them because of climate change. Habitat for cold water fish species like our native brook trout is shrinking due to warming stream temperatures. The smallmouth bass population is crashing in the lower Susquehanna River due in part to high summertime water temperatures. The snowshoe hare population has dwindled because their wintertime white fur makes them abnormally vulnerable to predation on a snowless forest floor. More importantly, the number of humans inflicted with Lyme disease has increased dramatically because of exploding tick populations. These are but a small sampling of the impacts of climate change right here at home. This is very upsetting to me, as it should be to you.

America’s sportsmen recognize a warming world is a serious threat to wildlife. But as the IPCC report warned, everyone must realize climate change is even a more serious threat to mankind. Now that the self-induced chaos has subsided in our nation’s capitol, it’s high time Congress gets behind EPA’s bold step to limit carbon pollution from new power plants.

Ed Zygmunt
Laceyville, PA