Energy Efficient Vehicle
Energy-efficient vehicles help parks keep emissions low.
Responding to Climate Change

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that our parks have ever faced. As its effects become more severe, park managers will need to address new, complicated questions about how to best protect our cultural and natural resources.

However, national parks are also in a special position to help address this challenge.

Through widespread, diverse initiatives undertaken at all levels - from the Department of the Interior to individual parks - we lead actions to better understand and respond to the challenge.

Many of our natural resources help reduce the effects of climate change. They are also invaluable resources for observing and teaching about these effects.

What We are Doing

Climate change affects us at many levels, from the very local to the global. We are responding with actions at many levels through a diversity of projects and initiatives aimed at tackling the many parts of the climate challenge.

DOI Logo
The Department of the Interior (DOI) has developed a coordinated strategy to address the effects of climate change on our natural and cultural resources. The DOI is also leading by example: it's embarking upon a plan to substantially reduce carbon emissions resulting from DOI activities. Learn more about these initiatives at the DOI climate response webpage
The National Park Service's Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) is applying the best science to help manage our resources, planning to rapidly address emerging issues in an uncertain future, reducing the carbon footprint of the NPS, and educating staff and visitors about climate change. Download the NPS Climate Change Response Strategy (pdf).
       NPS Logo The parks of the National Capital Region (NCR) face special challenges as a result of climate change. Many of these parks are small fragments nestled within urban development, yet they receive national and international visitation. Climate change interacts with pre-existing problems related to development and fragmentation to make park management a more complex task. The NCR response includes monitoring park resources and disseminating the latest climate knowledge.
CFP Logo
       Climate Friendly Parks is an NPS initiative that helps parks address climate change. It provides parks with a variety of tools, including a specifically designed carbon management inventory tool, assistance in developing a Climate Action Plan, educational products, and other forms of support. For more information, visit the Climate Friendly Parks website.

How Parks Help
 Rabbit in NCR Park
Our parks are refuges for wildlife.

Many of the natural resources in national parks can help protect human health and the natural world from the effects of climate change.

Our parks provide a refuge for wildlife that face increasing stress from a changing climate, rapid urban development and other factors. Trees provide cooling shade for buildings and people, and they remove C02 from the air and store the carbon in their tissues.

National parks are also important places for observing the effects of climate change on vital resources, and for sharing climate science with visitors.

For more information about how parks help cope with climate change, view this video:

Imagine Washington, D.C., without trees... (42.3 MB; 4:41 min)

There are more than 2.5 million trees in Washington, D.C. The majority of them are in lands managed by the National Park Service. The urban forest of Washington, D.C.provides a variety of services that contribute to the citys human health and environmental quality. Trees are in fact helping us reduce the rising carbon dioxide levels that contribute to climate change.


Giselle Mora-Bourgeois
Science Education Coordinator
National Park Service
Center for Urban Ecology
4598 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007

(202) 342-1443 x220