National climate assessment highlights Minnesota’s need to reduce risk

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For Immediate Release: May 6, 2014

J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director, Fresh Energy

ST. PAUL – The United States Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment, which was released today, offers the fullest accounting yet of the impacts Americans face from climate change, according to experts at Minnesota-based Fresh Energy. The report found that every region of the United States, including Minnesota, is currently experiencing impacts from global warming.

According to J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy, “Climate change is fundamentally changing our nation’s environment and starting to impose real costs to Minnesota’s health and our economy. Thankfully, many solutions are available if leaders act quickly to tackle the impacts head on.”

“Our families and communities are being harmed today” she continued. “Today’s report explains the science behind what farmers, flood insurers, and people who vacation in the Boundary Waters have seen firsthand: climate change is not a far-off threat, but visible in our backyards in droughts, floods, extreme rainfall, and changing habitats.”

The report outlines the need to make cuts in carbon pollution a Minnesota and national priority. We are already feeling the impacts of climate change and the costs are big.

The report, which was commissioned by Congress, written by a federal advisory committee, and signed off on by 13 science agencies, is the flagship federal report on climate change.

“This report is one of the most useful tools climate researchers produce for decision makers,” said Hamilton. “There’s so much science that’s relevant for people right now, whether it’s public health officials dealing with heat waves, or farmers and forestry managers dealing with very rapid changes in growing conditions.”

“Many Minnesotans prize our lakes, and lake recreation is critical to our economy. Scientists project that unchecked global warming will harm water quality in Minnesota, with more invasive aquatic species, and toxic algal blooms—blue-green algae—on northern lakes, including potentially on Lake Superior.”

“Early in June, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. Power plants that burn coal are responsible for 40 percent of the carbon pollution causing climate change, and they have operated for many decades without the kinds of commonsense, reasonable, science-based limits we have on soot, arsenic, and mercury.”

For an interview request, contact J. Drake Hamilton at 651-366-7557 or


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