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WI Climate Experts: State Can Take Lead in Global Warming Fight

February 5, 2007


Today's frigid temperatures may make it tough to think about global warming in Wisconsin! But as Congress prepares to debate the issue of global climate change and what Americans should be doing about it, Wisconsin experts say the state can take a leadership role. Steve Vavruss of the University of Wisconsin Center for Climatic Research says global warming will hurt tourism and agriculture in Wisconsin. He cites problems like less ice on lakes, more floods and hotter summers.

"We've been pretty lucky dodging the bullet on extreme heat waves, but there's every indication that in the future we'll be seeing more of these. Even just a few degrees of extra heat will make things uncomfortable and even life-threatening for some."

Vavruss calls the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" report on global warming released last week a "wake-up call" for Americans to conserve energy and use alternatives to coal and oil. In the report, 1,200 scientists agree that global warming is a reality, and they are "90 percent certain" it is caused and/or exacerbated by human factors. In Wisconsin, that includes emissions from the state's coal-burning power plants, and from car traffic.

Chris Kucharik with the University of Wisconsin Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment points to Governor Doyle's proposed task force on climate change as a good first step.

"People may get the impression that it sounds like it's too late to do anything, but the point is that every little thing we can do right now will help reduce the intensity of these changes."

In tonight's State of the State address, Governor Doyle plans to announce a major effort to cut global warming emissions, including ways to replace fossil fuels with energy made in Wisconsin.

Rob Ferrett/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - WI