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Fed Study: Missouri to Feel the Heat of Climate Change

June 19, 2009

Jefferson City, MO - It looks like wild weather events and changes in the seasons are on the horizon for Missouri and the rest of the Midwest because of climate change. A new federal study predicts more heat waves, precipitation, and flooding, among other things.

Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientists with the National Wildlife Federation, contributed to the report, and says the information is a valuable tool for policymakers and Missourians who will be affected by changing climate trends.

"Severe heat waves that currently affect the Midwest just once a decade will occur as often as three times a year by the end of the century if we fail to address climate change very soon."

Missouri will not be alone in feeling the heat, she adds. The study predicts more frequent and intense heat waves across the country. Skeptics of climate change say changing weather patterns and conditions are part of natural cycles and are not linked to human-produced emissions of carbon dioxide.

While the report is full of dire warnings, Dr. Staudt says there is also hope because the U.S. is getting serious about reducing the kinds of pollution linked by many scientists to a rapidly changing climate.

"The good news is there’s a bill moving in Congress that would send a signal to the world that the United States is serious about energy independence and climate change."

The report also speaks of a growing recognition of Missouri's wind power potential that could reduce demand for coal-fired power plant electricity - production that comes with carbon emissions. For example, the city of Rockport is the first community in the United States to be powered entirely by wind-generated electricity.

The report is online at

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO