Environmental Activist: Vt. Needs To Lead On Climate Change

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(Host) Environmental activist Bill McKibben told a panel of Vermont lawmakers that catastrophic weather events like Tropical Storm Irene will become more frequent as the climate continues to warm.

(McKibben) "What’s interesting about that storm is that it fits precisely with what the climatologists have been telling us to expect. It was not an unbelievably powerful wind storm as it swept up the East Coast but over the waters of New York and New Jersey it encountered record surface temperatures. This allowed it to soak up enormous amounts of moisture."

(Host) McKibben is an author, activist, and scholar in residence at Middlebury College. Over the past year, he’s led protests against the Keystone XL pipeline that’s designed to bring tar sands from northwest Canada to the Texas coast.

But on Tuesday he was testifying in Montpelier before the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee. His message was that with climate legislation dead in Washington, Vermont and other states need to do all they can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(McKibben) "Vermont, obviously, by itself cannot make this happen. By the same token that argument is true for every single jurisdiction considering this stuff as well. Everyone has the excuse that by myself this will not make a huge difference. If everyone takes this excuse then nothing will happen."

(Host) McKibben spoke in favor of legislation that would require Vermont utilities to buy a percentage of their power supply from renewable energy sources.

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