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Before he cuts funds to global warming research, state senator should check his science

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Michael Noble
Michael Noble is executive director of Fresh Energy, which describes itself as "a nonprofit organization leading the transition to a clean, efficient and fair energy system."
Courtesy Fresh Energy

When the chairman of the Minnesota Senate Environment Committee says "global warming -- I think it's a farce, I think it's a fallacy," I say, "Yikes." 

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, used that reason to eliminate funding proposals that had been agreed to by the Legislative and Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, which advises the Legislature on spending proceeds from the Minnesota State Lottery. He targeted any funding into research on the Minnesota impacts of a warming climate, options for reducing fossil fuel use and ways to adapt to the climate change impacts that are already unavoidable.

I don't know where Ingebrigtsen gets his science, but 18 different American scientific societies agree that climate change is occurring and that human activity consuming fossil fuels is the primary cause. 

Consider this passage from a 2009 letter to Congress, organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

"For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wild fires, and the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades. If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced."

Among the signers of this letter are the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. I think the constituents from Sen. Ingebrigtsen's agricultural district should let him know that their livelihoods are at risk too.

It's as if the chair of the Senate Health Committee had said, "Smoking is bad for you? I don't buy into that stuff. I think it's a farce and a fallacy."

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Michael Noble is executive director of Fresh Energy, which describes itself as "a nonprofit organization leading the transition to a clean, efficient and fair energy system."