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Leading Space Scientist Urges Minnesota Governor to Oppose Big Stone II

April 25, 2008

St. Paul, MN - The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has sent a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty urging him to oppose the Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota. Dr. James Hansen questions the decision to build new coal-fired power plants that add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

He says if CO2 emissions aren't reduced, the planet will soon reach a tipping point where it's impossible to stop global warming and climate change. Hansen adds that the problem can be solved, but it will require moving beyond fossil fuels.

"It is going to require a lot of investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency, and we need to get going on that now. One way you do that is by not building more coal-fired power plants, because that reduces the pressure to do energy efficiency and renewables."

According to Hansen, South Dakota has considerable renewable energy potential. He says it would be smart for the state to get even more aggressive developing its bio-fuel and wind energy resources.

"What we really need to do is have a low-loss electrical grid across the country because we have various renewable energies, some of which are intermittent. You know, eventually we are going to have to go beyond fossil fuels, and that means no carbon emissions. The point is, South Dakota has potential to be a big contributor to that."

Global warming activists warn that carbon dioxide is a threat to the climate because it has a 1,000-year lifespan in the atmosphere. The scientific community has concluded that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen almost 40 percent in recent years. If it isn't lowered, Hansen says, the planet will be completely different and not so friendly in the not-so-distant future.

David Law/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - SD