According to researchers, the magnitude and pace of current climate changes are unprecedented in human history. Scientists who study climate change agree that human activities are a big part of the current warming trend. As stated in the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,"there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities."
Many climate change consequences make it difficult for national park managers to preserve the resources unimpaired. Many parks are developing alternate energy strategies to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, using electric and hybrid forms of transportation. In those parks with high visitation rates, mass transportation systems are being developed.
There are a lot of pieces in the climate change puzzle, and transportation systems alone can't solve the challenges in national parks. But national parks can help us figure out how to respond to these changes. Parks across the nation are conducting "Climate Friendly Parks" workshops, cosponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, to evaluate energy usage and identify efficiencies that can improve park operations. Vulnerable resources are being monitored in most parks, and several have researchers who are specifically addressing climate change impacts.
The NPS has also issued its Climate Change Response Strategy. In the forward to that document, NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis writes,"First and foremost, the NPS should be a leader in all aspects of recycling, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and sustainable design and construction. I see great examples around the Service, but we are inconsistent in our goals and efforts."