On Wednesday night, Minnesota State Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) took to the House floor to talk about climate change and renewable energy.
Using sources such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Gruenhagen told his colleagues that climate change is a “complete United Nations fraud and lie…. The latest facts from CPAC show that in the last sixteen years there’s been no global warming.”
While it is common practice among climate skeptics to claim that the Earth is no longer warming, the fact is global temperatures are rising. 2010 was the hottest year on record and every year of the 2000s was warmer than 1990s average. Over 30 million people were displaced by climate-related extreme weather events in 2012, and it is increasingly likely millions more will be displaced in the near future.
Watch the speech here, courtesy of theuptake.org:
Gruenhagen made his speech the same day a new survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers found a 97 percent consensus that global warming is happening and humans are the cause and just a few days after it was reported that atmospheric C02 levels reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human existence
Indeed, Minnesota residents are feeling the very real impacts of climate change. The MinnPost reports that three 1,000 year floods have occurred in the state in the last eight years as a result of shifts in rainfall patterns. Extreme drought is occurring not just in Minnesota but almost every state, and climate change is having cumulative stress on the Great Lakes. Rising levels of water vapor in the warming atmosphere are spiking heat indexes and associated health warnings.
Gruenhagen aside, the majority of lawmakers in Minnesota have recognized the importance of enacting policies to address climate change and in 2007, implemented one of the highest renewable energy standards in the nation – laws which require electric utilities companies to produce a portion of their electricity from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. Indeed, Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation in overall wind energy capacity and lawmakers in the state recently agreed to a solar energy standard.
At the federal level, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) recently attacked climate deniers on the Senate floor saying, “If 98 out of 100 doctors tell me I’ve got a problem, I should take their advice. And if those two other doctors get paid by Big Snack Food, like certain climate deniers get paid by Big Coal, I shouldn’t take their advice.”
Matt Kasper is the Special Assistant for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.