Government report: Climate change doesn’t bode well
Remember last month, when Minneapolis was reported to be the seventh best outdoors city in the United States by Forbes magazine? If a new government report on global warming proves true, all that could change dramatically in only a few decades. As in, expect more health problems, more heavy snow and more extreme temperatures by 2050.
That’s the message Minneapolitans can take away from a U.S. government assessment on global warming, released May 29. Commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, the 193-page report was produced by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
It doesn’t provide many global warming arguments not heard before, but there are some ideas embedded within that could be particularly noteworthy for the Twin Cities.
For example, the report notes that total annual precipitation increased by about 6 percent from 1901 to 2005. The northern Midwest, along with the South, experienced the greatest increase.
The contiguous United States as a whole also has had “statistically significant” increases in heavy precipitation. For northern states, a continued increase in winter precipitation is all but expected, according to the report.
Furthermore, increasing temperatures could disproportionately burden Midwestern cities such as Minneapolis. That’s because they are “generally not as well-adapted as Southern cities,” and their residents are likely to suffer more from heat-related illnesses. Add to that a projected 4.5 percent increase in ozone-related deaths by 2050, and the report paints a very dire picture.
As is well documented, there are those who don’t agree with global warming studies’ assessments that humans have contributed to climate change. The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, for example, says it has more than 31,000 signatures from U.S. scientists on a petition that says there is no convincing scientific evidence humans are causing the Earth’s atmosphere to heat up.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that one of those signatures came from WCCO-TV meteorologist Mike Fairbourne. He told the paper that “squishy science” is being used to create blame.
Hennepin County paper: 100 percent used
As part of its green purchasing program, Hennepin County has started exclusively using 100 percent recycled copier and printer paper.
According to a county newsletter, it had been using 30 percent recycled paper. The 70 percent gap was a big one, considering the county uses about 1.6 million sheets of paper a month.
The newsletter said the switch is helping the county save 1,600 trees, 500,000 gallons of water and power for 12 homes.
Go to www.co.hennepin.mn.us to learn more.
More green to buy
Twin Cities Green, the eco-friendly household, bag and trinket store at 2405 Hennepin Ave. S., has expanded its inventory with the closing of its sister store, South Minneapolis’ Re Gift.
For more on the inventory expansion, check out the biz buzz.