( Bret Hartman / Vail Daily / August 23, 2006 )
"Climate change is naturally occurring. What influence do we have over that, we certainly need to look into, but that's subject to debate."
--Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.)
Not subject to debate is North America's worst infestation of bark beetles in recorded history, a problem centered in the once dense forests of Colorado. According to a recent report in the National Journal, the pest has destroyed 3.3 million acres of forest in Colorado alone since the 1990s. Although there is some disagreement among scientists about global warming's role in the blight, it is clearly connected to lower snowfall levels and increased wildfires, two phenomena plaguing Colorado that are predicted impacts of climate change.