Nov/Dec 2009

State News: August 2009



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CSG Brings Climate Change Debate to Omaha

When it comes to climate change, there’s never just one side to the debate.

Just ask John Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The two were co-recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work in the area.

But that doesn’t mean they agree on the extent of global warming, its projected impacts and primary causes. In fact, Christy declined his share of the Nobel Prize.

Christy is a professor of atmospheric science and director of the University of Alabama’s Earth System Science Center. He’s also Alabama’s state climatologist. Schlesinger is a professor of atmospheric sciences and director of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Climate Research Group. He also serves on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s Climate Change Advisory Group.

The two will face off at the CSG 75th Anniversary Meeting Annual Conference in Omaha, Neb., Dec. 6. Both prominent climate scientists will present their arguments on the science behind climate change, what it tells us and what states should do with the information.

And so far, some states aren’t waiting for the climate change debate to cool; some are already taking action. Thirty-two states have Renewable Portfolio Standards requiring a certain percentage of electricity to come from energy sources that don’t release greenhouse gasses, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Even more states—37, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change—have climate action plans to deal with and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

CSG Chair Rep. Kim Koppelman will moderate the debate at the Omaha meeting, and an extended question and answer period will follow the session.


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