"McCain, Udall look for signs of climate change at RMNP." When I read that headline, I picture both senators with giant magnifying glasses and Sherlock Holmes hats, intensely staring at tundra flowers or interrogating pikas, demanding signs of climate change to show themselves.
The truth isn't too far from that: On Monday, U.S. senators Mark Udall and John McCain toured Rocky Mountain National Park's Hollowell Park, observing non-native cheatgrass and swaths of beetle-killed pine trees—all signs of climate change's impact in our national parks. The visit to Rocky followed a stop in Grand Canyon, which the senators also inspected for climatological damage.
Afterwards, they convened a meeting of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and heard from scientists and field rangers in Estes Park.
"Our national parks are national treasures," said Udall, D-Eldorado Springs. "Our national parks are the canary in the coal mines when it comes to the on-the-ground effects of climate change."
"Today's hearing rises above politics," McCain said. "This is an examination of how a warming world is affecting our national parks."
Both senators acknowledged that any true solutions will have to wait until the health care issue gets taken care of, and neither offered any specific commitment beyond insisting the president had to lead the waay on climate change, and that nuclear power be part of the solution.
So no real answers, but a decent showing from two prominent senators. Then again, maybe it was just a way to score a sweet two-park vacation on the government's dime. Can't say I blame 'em.