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A United Nations sponsored panel issued a report this week showing that global temperatures will rise 10 degrees over the next 100 years if conditions remain the same. Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St.Paul) said that prompt action to confront global warming is crucial.
"We need to address this issue immediately," Murphy said. "If we do nothing, the Minnesota that we grew up in will not exist for our children and grandchildren."
Murphy sharply condemned those that have denied the existence of global warming or challenged its authenticity.
"Much like Galileo, who stood in the face of enormous pressure from the elite of the day to recant sound scientific evidence, scientists who continue to sound the alarm on global warming ought to be applauded for their bravery. Galileo said 'but it moves', they say 'but it warms.' The time for debating the existence of global warming is over."
Murphy stressed the importance of acting before climate change becomes irreversible, noting that the U.N. report said it would take over 1,000 years to reverse the damage done during the next century.
"We are doing damage that we cannot repair," Murphy said. "2006 was the warmest year ever in the United States, but that is a picnic compared to where we are headed. "
Locally, the effects of such a change would be dramatic and catastrophic. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency predicts that global warming could obliterate the boreal forests of the Boundary Waters, lower lake levels, decrease ice cover during the winter and threaten waterfowl populations.
"We're talking about nothing less than losing our way of life," Murphy said. "Many of the things that Minnesotans have held dear for generations - ice fishing, duck hunting, skiing and boating for example - are in critical danger because of climate change."
Murphy noted that many bills have been introduced this year to combat the threat of global warming, including legislation that she is co-sponsoring that would require that 25% of Minnesota's energy come from renewable sources by 2020.
"The renewable energy standard is a start," she said. "But we can and will do more."
Murphy said she would also sponsor legislation designed to cut carbon emissions from transportation sources by 30% by 2030. Transportation is the leading contributor of greenhouse gasses in Minnesota according to the pollution control agency.
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