A group of central Illinois Democrats as well as some in agriculture and academics are trying to rally around President Obama's action last month on climate change. The President is instituting power plant carbon pollution limits among other things, and some at a news conference in Bloomington want Congress to get in on the action. Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner says it's way past time for Washington to address climate change.
"We don't have anyone to send unfunded mandates to, we have to make stuff happen. So, what we're asking Congress to do is revolutionary. Check your egos at the door and do your job."
Champaign State Senator Mike Frerichs says central Illinois and McLean County in particular, should be extra mindful of how climate change impacts two key business sectors, agriculture and insurance.
"A lot of people in the insurance industry or agriculture, who might traditionally be Republicans, are going to see that if we don't do something to affect this, it's going to have adverse effects on their livelihood and our economy."
Frerichs says recent wild swings in weather patterns have made it hard for farmers, and insurance companies wind up paying high claim amounts. The only farmer in attendance at the news conference was U of I research engineer Eric Thorsland, a Democrat who chairs the Champaign County Zoning Board. Renner says there is now broad support among conservatives to do something about climate change and cites remarks made by United Kingdom Conservative Party Foreign Secretary William Hague. Illinois' State Climatologist Jim Angel, who also attended, says it's likely the last two extreme weather pattens--last year's drought and this year's wet spring--were both due to human causes and natural variables.
(above, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner)
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