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Without action to reduce carbon emissions, global warming will
dramatically alter the Western U.S. landscape, according to a
nongovernmental report released Thursday by the National
"America's addiction to fossil fuels is coming at an enormous price,
one that threatens not only people but the fish, wildlife and eco-
systems that are so fundamental to the region's—and nation's—
economy, culture and values," writes lead author Patty Glick,
a global warming specialist for the group.
The report, an extensive review of scientific literature for 17
western states, indicates that declining water resources,
pervasive drought, increased catastrophic wildfires, and species
extinction are some of the effects global warming will have on
the American West.
Recent studies have shown that an increase in forest wildfires
in the West is correlated with rising temperatures and earlier
arrival of warmer seasons. According to the new report, there
has been a four-fold increase in the number of major fires
Rising temperatures are expected to reduce snow pack and
cause snow to melt earlier, which will place a strain on the
area's water reserves.