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Will Americans Ever Respond To Climate Change?

A report released by the National Audubon Society this week warns that climate change is responsible for the gradual northward migration of bird species in North America. According to the report hundreds of species will desert more than half of their current range over the next few decades.

The Audubon Society’s chief scientific officer, Gary Langham, told media that displaced species from the US are headed further north into Canada. The only way they will survive, he added, is to ensure that there are habitats in Canada’s north for them to migrate to.

It’s not the first dire warning issued by a credible body about the effects of climate change and it won’t be the last. But Americans are notoriously skeptical about the effects of both climate change and global warning. Many still regard it is a pseudo-scientific whipping up of hysteria in order to gain research funding.

But there are signs that this attitude is beginning to change. Concern is spreading among public health experts, business leaders and even some diehard conservatives, including former Republican office holders. According to a poll conducted by ABC and the Washington Post, 70 percent of Americans now see the issue as serious and believe the pollution that leads to global warming should be reduced in an effort to tackle it.

A proposal from the EPA this June called for bringing carbon pollution down 30 percent by 2030. That’s the first time national limits have been proposed for carbon emissions from power plants, the greatest source of carbon pollution in the US.

Now the groundswell of public opinion is about to make itself felt with mass demonstrations in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of protesters are expected to march for climate concern in a demonstration timed to coincide with the arrival of international leaders for the UN Climate Summit on September 21.

Will they make a change? The protesters hope that their very visible demonstration will boost the number of Americans asking their representatives to take climate change seriously.

Meanwhile, back at the Audubon Society, Gary Langham warns that rising sea levels, deforestation and creeping urbanization are shrinking the natural habitats of many species. Even the bald eagle, one of the few success stories of US nature conservation, could lose as much as 74 percent of its habitat by 2080.

But it’s not all bad news on the climate change front. It seems that the ozone layer, the atmospheric zone that protects the Earth from much of the sun’s UV radiation, is beginning to reverse its decades-long trend of thinning out.

Ozone, a form of oxygen, is responsible for absorbing the radiation, which is one of the prime causes of skin cancers. Scientists say that the progressive banning of chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) across the globe is helping the ozone layer to recover.

Although cautious, scientists say that it is the beginning of returning the atmosphere to the way it was before the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Experts from the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization have published the findings on the rehabilitation of the ozone layer.

If Americans now join the move to take climate change seriously, there is hope that rehabilitation of the Earth’s climate could follow.

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