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U.S. drafts climate change road map

By Staff Writer (UPI) - January 20, 2012

The U.S. government has published its first draft of a national strategy that provides a road map for authorities responding to climate change.

U.S. Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes said rising sea levels, warming temperatures and other climate issues are having an effect on everything from wildlife to natural resources.

“The impacts of climate change are already here and those who manage our landscapes are already dealing with them,” he said in a statement.

The strategy, available for public comment through March, outlines guidelines for local, state and federal agencies to tackle climate issues tied to everything from migration patterns to rising sea levels and invasive species.

Climate talks under the auspices of the United Nations have resulted in few dramatic reforms aimed at reducing climate change.

Environmental scientists added in a report to Congress that they observed “measurable improvements” in the levels of acid rain. Because of programs enacted in the 1990s, scientists said there were “dramatic” reductions in levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants.

“The emissions that form acid rain have declined and some U.S. areas are beginning to recover,” said Doug Burns, lead author of the study and U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist. “However, some sensitive ecosystems are still receiving levels of acid rain that exceed what is needed for full and widespread recovery.”