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MT Statehouse is Global Warming Hot Spot Today

March 9, 2007

More bugs, more flooding, and more forest fires. Those are part of the long list of changes in Montana over the past 40 years or so that are being attributed to global warming, and will be discussed at the statehouse today. Before the hearing, former Billings mayor Chuck Tooley will show photos documenting climate change, and share responses from around the state from folks he's talked with about melting glaciers, less snowfall, and more bug infestations and wildfires.

"The people in this state understand when they're presented with the facts, and they want to know what they can do to do their part."

The Global Warming Solutions Act would minimize greenhouse gas emissions through things like increased energy efficiency and a "cap-and-trade" system that rewards companies that lower pollution emissions. The topic is also up for discussion at the Montana Conservation Voters meeting tonight in Helena.

Tooley says natural environmental cycles are disturbed by climate change, which explains why Western Montana forests have been dealing with bark pine beetle infestations that used to never be a problem.

"Warmer temperatures cause earlier hatching of insects, and it allows them to live much longer through the season so they cause a lot more damage than they have in the past."

Chuck Tooley is speaking today at 12;00 p.m. at the Legislative Global Climate Change Caucus. The global warming solutions act is HB 753; it will be heard at 3:00 p.m., House Natural Resources Committee, Room 472 at the Capitol. The Montana Conservation Voters meeting is tonight, 5:30 p.m. at the Shrine Temple in Helena.

Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MT