Global climate change poses a serious threat to the Adirondack Park. Changing weather patterns will affect the quality and quantity of Adirondack Park waters. Warming temperatures are already changing the Park's ecosystems, threatening the survival of some native wildlife and plant species. Warming also threatens the park’s communities and culture.
The Impact of Climate Change on the Adirondacks
The Adirondack Park’s biological diversity is derived from its location at the transition zone between the temperate, deciduous forests of the Appalachian Mountains and the boreal, spruce-fir forest of Canada. As the Park warms, that transition zone is likely to fade northward into Canada. Climate scientists predict that the Adirondack Park’s climate will resemble today’s Richmond, VA by the end of the century if we don’t take swift and decisive action to combat greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere.
In general, we are getting warmer and wilder weather. Warming temperatures can bring fewer and smaller wetlands, while wildly fluctuating precipitation patterns can cause flash flooding or prolonged droughts.
Shrinking wetlands will reduce suitable breeding habitat for migratory birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and fish. Changes are already being noted in the northward movement of migratory bird breeding areas and earlier opening buds of flowering plants; a situation that can disrupt pollination of plants and feeding patterns of birds, insects and other species.
Non-native species that currently can’t survive Adirondack winters are expected to replace native plants and animals as temperatures rise.
Cold water aquatic species are especially at risk. Since many of these species are especially vulnerable during spawning and mating, temperature fluctuations could affect population levels. Species of fish that are ecologically valuable and prized catches among anglers, including brook and lake trout, could drastically decline or be lost altogether if climate change is severe.
Maple syrup production depends on a reliable freeze-and-thaw cycle to make the sap flow. This cycle too is being altered by climate change.
Shorter and warmer winters will limit outdoor recreational activities for which the region has become famous, including skiing and other Olympic sports, snowshoeing and ice climbing. Tourism will be affected and this could add to the problems for the environment. Snowless winters such as 2016 could cause mounting pressure to convert useless snowmobile trails into roads for all-terrain vehicles and other erosion-causing mechanized recreation.
What We're Doing to Fight Climate Change
The Adirondack Council is currently working on a number of measures that will help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and help our region slow the progression of global climate change.
Our advocacy work has supported the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for the Northeast and the federal Clean Power Plan, a national carbon reduction program for commercial power plants. Both programs face stiff opposition from industry lobbyists and legal challenges. The Council will continue to press public officials to authorize, fully fund and improve these programs in the years ahead.
How You Can Help
There are several ways you can play an active role in fighting the harmful impacts of climate change on the Adirondack Park. You can take direct action to reduce total carbon emissions by purchasing a Carbon Reduction Certificate from our Cool Farms/Healthy Park Program, which helps the Adirondack Council fight climate change while curbing pollution under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. You can help us support the federal Clean Power Plan, which mandates carbon reductions from power plants nationwide. And, you can help us support vigorous implementation of New York’s Community Risk and Resiliency Act.
Click HERE for other ways that you can reduce your contribution to climate change.
Cool Farms/Healthy Park Program
The Cool Farms/Healthy Park Program is designed to reduce regional carbon emissions, educate the public about global climate change and provide grants to local farmers so they remain a vital and sustainable part of the Adirondack Park’s landscape.
Donors will receive a certificate explaining how the donation is helping to protect public health, clean water, wildlife and ecologically sensitive places like the Adirondack Park. Donors have the option of receiving a certificate suitable for framing, made out to whomever they wish, recognizing support for cool farms, healthy park, climate smart farming and carbon reduction.
In 2008, New York and other Northeast states created the nation’s first government-mandated carbon emissions control program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants is known as the Clean Power Plan.
How You Can Help
For a $25 contribution to the Council's Cool Farms/Healthy Park Program, you will receive a Carbon Reduction Certificate and we will permanently retire one carbon allowance dioxide from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program. RGGI is the nation's first multi-state effort to make measurable reductions in carbon emissions.
This certificate is suitable for framing and can be made out in the name of whomever you wish.