Climate and Energy

The Problem: Climate change is largely caused by human-induced carbon pollution and it poses a significant threat to wildlife, habitat, and many of our communities. Without swift action to reduce these harmful emissions habitats will be lost and up to half of all species may face extinction. For instance, breeding grounds for ducks in the heartland could dry up, moose in New England could be lost to parasites, forests in the west will burn more frequently and ferociously, and trout streams in Appalachia could warm to an inhospitable degree.

 Moose photo by USFWS

Carbon pollution comes from a variety of sectors. Burning fossil fuel to generate electricity and provide transportation is the cause of most of our emissions, but land-use practices that allow carbon to escape into the atmosphere can also result in substantial emissions. The National Wildlife Federation aims to protect wildlife and ensure a stable climate for future generations.

 US Emissions by Sector | 2015 (Graph: World Resources Institute) 

 Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector graph by World Resources Institute

 

 

 US Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas | 2009 (Graph: EIA)

Emissions Estimates from EPA study 'Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2013'

 

Policy Options: Fortunately, there are solutions. By transitioning to cleaner sources of energy and changing agricultural and forestry practices we can slow climate change and benefit wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation currently focuses on reducing emissions in four key areas:

  1. The reduction of emissions at their source. Including emissions from power plants, as well as oil and gas developments.
  2. The development of wildlife-friendly renewable energy to offset the need for energy generation from carbon heavy fuels like coal and natural gas.
  3. The decline of fossil fuel development, such as the extraction of oil and gas from the tar sands in Canada and the development of coal mines across our public lands.
  4. Use of land and natural ecosystems for carbon sequestration and storage.

  Western Tanager photo by Helena Reynolds

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