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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Poll on climate change shows some in ND yet to be convinced

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Friday, February 23, 2024   

North Dakota voters are divided on climate change matters, according to new polling data. To get more community buy-in for climate solutions, a University of North Dakota professor says, local leaders can fine-tune their messaging.

In the North Dakota News Cooperative survey, 43% of eligible voters in the state believe climate change "threatens their future way of life." And there are wide gaps along political lines, with 87% of Democrats and only 26% of Republicans expressing concern.

As local governments work on those issues, said Rebecca Romsdahl, a professor of earth system science and policy at UND who has studied climate-change impacts, some find it's an uphill battle in connecting with residents.

"A lot of people still see these issues as something that affects other people in other places," she said, "and that maybe it's a future problem, but maybe it doesn't affect my life today."

She said elected officials can convey the importance of updating infrastructure to avoid long-term damage costs from climate disasters. Using government incentives for adopting clean-energy technology is another suggestion.

Only 26% of poll respondents said they believe climate change is "mainly caused by human activity."

Despite increasing signs of climate change affecting North Dakota, such as periods of drought, Romsdahl said it'll likely take a little longer for people to be fully convinced the threats have reached their doorstep.

"It is challenging because we live in the center of the continent here," she said, "so we are used to having kind of extreme weather - whether it's hot summers and cold winters."

However, she said, having more unusually warm winters such as the one hitting the region right now might turn more heads. Romsdahl said establishing renewable-energy cooperatives could be another effective approach. Residents can have an ownership stake in these efforts, while also creating new revenue streams for the community and not an outside utility.


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