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Obama's Global Warming Plan: Band-Aids for Wildlife

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I'm responding to the Obama Administration's request for public comment by March 5 on a proposed five to 10 year plan to reduce global warming's impact on wildlife, ecosystems, and the people who depend on them.

Some members of Congress requested the White House prepare this plan. Whether the lawmakers see fit to approve it is another matter, given that many lawmakers do not consider global warming a viable threat.

Anyway, here is my contribution to the public record. First let me make clear that unlike all too many Americans, I believe that human induced global warming exists and is on track to significantly alter our climate.

Having said that, I approve of the Obama plan as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. It deals only with adaptation to rising temperatures, a strategy that is tantamount to a holding action. To preserve a reasonable facsimile of the current day version of our planet, adaptation needs to be accompanied by a crash program to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions, the real root of the problem. Otherwise, warming of the planet at some point could conceivably spin out of control to the severe detriment of mankind.

In the short term, President Obama's adaptation strategy is an effective way to bide time, but can it successfully run a gauntlet of congressional skeptics?

A mainstay of the strategy to mitigate climate change's impact on wildlife is the creation of new conservation areas along with acquisition of undeveloped corridors that allow stressed species to migrate. Unfortunately, it seems that this expansion of publicly owned land in an anti-federal, cash strapped national climate would be a daunting challenge.

Another Obama strategy is to pay farmers to take some of their land out of production and convert it back into wildlife habitat. This could not be a permanent solution when one considers the future demand for food from a burgeoning human population. The Obama proposal for more research on climate and ways to mitigate its impacts makes sense, but with our budget crunch, what are the odds of obtaining adequate funding? Reducing habitat destruction is a sound recommendation, but how well will it fare when it clashes with private property rights?

Obama calls for federal, state and local authorities to engage in a coordinated adaptive response to global warming. It's a logical step, yet with so many officials at all levels dubious of a global warming threat, the necessary degree of cooperation is hard to envision.

That leads to my final comment for the public record. President Obama, stand firm and I believe the majority of the American people will be at your side and ultimately apply the necessary public pressure to set your initiatives in motion.

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