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CLIMATE CHANGE

A bill being fast-tracked by Democrats through the Legislature would require Minnesota utilities to have carbon-free electricity generation. It now awaits a vote of the full Senate.
The Legislature is considering new laws on everything from boating, rough fish and copper mining to deer hunting and ATV trails.
Surface Water and Ocean Topography, which launched Dec. 16, is studying all water on Earth, including the Great Lakes.
The U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy are researching how restored bogs help slow climate change.

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A new law makes thousands of dollars in incentives available for home energy upgrades.
Minnesota set its current goals in 2007 when the state adopted the bipartisan Next Generation Energy Act, which called for an 80% reduction in 2005-level emissions by 2050.
Northern Minnesota research published in the journal Nature found modest warming may devastate some tree species.
Bison that lived 3,000 years ago were 37% larger than those living today because of a warming climate — a trend that will accelerate, with bison projected to become 46% smaller by the end of the century. Bison are shaggy sentinels of climate change on the prairie.
The EPA-funded project could help protect water quality and steer fisheries management.
The commitment, published at the end of three days of talks, was weaker than a previous draft of the final communique seen by Reuters, which had included a target to end unabated coal power generation by 2030. Sources familiar with the discussions said Japan and the United States had both indicated they could not support that date.

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“The rain events that used to occur every 50 or 100 hears are now happening every 10 years or even more frequently,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “It’s not just once in your lifetime, it’s three or more times in one decade that you’re having to think about impacts on local resources as well as infrastructure and homes.”
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It’s not just a Duluth phenomenon. In the Twin Cities, winds gusted to 30 mph or higher on 46 days this winter, blowing away the previous record of 32 gusty days.
Led by a University of Minnesota Duluth professor, scientists from the U.S. and Canada are fanning out this month to gather data from below the ice.

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