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Monday, December 14, 2009

State scientists urge climate legislation

From an article by Chad Dally in The Daily Press (Ashland):

More than 100 scientists and researchers have called on Wisconsin's Congressional delegation to support cuts in emissions and other policies to address climate change.

"Controlling carbon emissions will allow for Wisconsin and the United States to take full advantage of the clean renewable resources and energy efficient technologies that are available today," the letter states. "A workable federal policy to combat global warming will also encourage researchers, investors, and businesses to accelerate development and deployment of next generation energy technologies."

The House passed a climate bill earlier this year, but it is on the back burner while the Senate works through health care reform legislation. Wisconsin Democrats Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl last month signed a letter to Senate leaders urging them to tweak the permitting process under a cap-and-trade system to avoid a potential increase in energy costs. The letter from Wisconsin scientists was sent the day after the opening of the world climate summit in Copenhagen, with nearly 200 countries negotiating financing, emissions cuts and other factors involved with global climate change.

The letter also was issued on the same day the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its "endangerment" finding for greenhouse gases, ruling carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouses gases as a public health threat and giving the agency at least some regulatory authority outside of Congress.

Professor Jonathon Patz of UW-Madison, and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said last week's endangerment finding signals a stance from the EPA that climate change is a public health risk, and the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, therefore, should be regulated as a public health measure

"People think about the polar bears and think about the ice caps, but public health impacts from climate change are significant," he said.

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