If I were to say to a group of global warming skeptics that there was a new study that showed that an animal is becoming endangered because its environment is increasingly cold, they probablywould jump all over it, and forward the news on over to the American Petroleum Institute… until they discovered that the study actually supports established theories of climate change.
That sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not. The animal is the American pika, a small, rodent-like animal (acutally a lagomorph, a relative of rabbits). It lives up in the Rocky Mountains, in areas that have had snow cover.
As a part of climate change, temperatures in the mountains have been increasing, and the snowpack has been melting. In the summer, it’s warmer as a result, with rocks absorbing more sunlight heat. However, the winters, although they’re warmer, are still dangerously cold to the little pikas – if they don’t have shelter. With the snowpack decreasing, the pikas have less insulation. That’s why, though the mountain climate is warming, the pikas are getting colder, and it’s why the American pika is in danger.
The Center for Biological Diversity is filing a petition to have the American pika listed under the Endangered Species Act. Actions required under the act could include stronger efforts to combat climate change.
Goodness knows that the Congress has not been acting to deal with climate change swiftly or certainly enough on its own. Thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for their efforts, and their attention to ecological detail.