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Missourians at Risk by Climate-Change Denials, Critics Say

Missourians are calling for clean energy to protect jobs and the environment. (sierraclub.org)
Missourians are calling for clean energy to protect jobs and the environment. (sierraclub.org)
March 15, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri has been making progress in the fight against climate change and advocates are worried that plans by the Trump administration to derail the Clean Power Plan could cause a loss of momentum for the state and the country. The comments made last week by new EPA chief Scott Pruitt that climate change isn't happening caused an uproar around the U.S. and around the globe.

Andy Knott, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, says denying science doesn't make the reality of climate change go away. He adds that to have Pruitt claim otherwise is embarrassing.

Knott says Missouri has made a lot of progress in the clean-energy sector, and cited Springfield as an example.

"They retired a coal plant, and they also built one of the largest solar farms in Missouri and they signed a 200-megawatt contract for wind power," he said.

Knott added that Missouri's economy would take a hit as well without the Clean Power Plan. About 53,000 people are employed in the Show-Me State's clean-energy sector, and a report last year said Missouri had the fastest-growing employment rate for jobs in wind and solar in the U.S.

University of Missouri associate professor Johann Bruhn studies the effects of climate change and has traveled most of the world. He says scientists have known since the 1850s about the abilities of carbon dioxide and methane to collect heat, and says we can't let false debate delay us from taking action.

"We've known that these gasses produce a warming effect, essentially another blanket on the bed surrounding Earth to change the energy balance to warm the atmosphere, the earth, the oceans," he explained.

Knott says in the meantime, climate change has reared its ugly head in Missouri.

"We're seeing changes in crops that can be grown in Missouri," Knott added. "We're seeing increases in invasive species that impact crops, more floods and more droughts, more severe storms and tornadoes."

Bruhn says it perplexes him that anyone with children or grandchildren would deny climate change because he believes they would want to make sure their future is secure by making the earth as good as it can be for them.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO