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Experts: Climate Change Could Bring More People to Duluth

Mar 20, 2019 05:26AM ● By Editor

By Ryan Juntti of WDIO-TV - March 19, 2019

Scientists who gathered in the Northland on Tuesday afternoon for a conference hosted by UMD, say because of climate change, more people could be moving to Duluth in the coming years.

While the weather can often drive Northlanders and Duluthians crazy, the conditions may not be as bad as some people across the country experience.

Because of that, UMD Biology Professor Julie Etterson, who is also one of the organizers of the conference, says Duluth could become a destination city for people in the southern part of the country.

A two day conference hosted by UMD is being held in Hermantown that focuses on how communities can adapt to climate change in Minnesota

Photo:  WDIO-TV

"Climate change is already happening, and we need to adapt to those changes," said Etterson.

That is the focus of the two day "Our Climate Futures: Meeting the Challenge in Duluth" conference being held in Hermantown at the National Resources Research Institute (NRRI).

Etterson says one of the adjustments Duluthians may have to make is getting used to the number of people who could be moving to the city in the coming years.

"I think one of the things that we might need to adapt to is an influx of people from further south," said Etterson. "Duluth is a fabulous place, it's beautiful," she said.

Etterson says the climate in Duluth has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in recent decades.

"The winters are not as bad as they used to be, the summers are warmer than they used to be, and so it might actually become a destination for people from other parts of the United States where the weather is deteriorating," said Etterson.

But as a result of climate change, she says Minnesota as a whole is receiving more rainfall, which she says is eroding away streets and washing pollutants into Lake Superior.

Etterson says another consequence of climate change in Duluth is birch trees that are dying off and not regenerating.

She believes this can all be traced back to the amount of carbon dioxide that is being emitted into the air.

"It's unequivocal that elevated CO2, and other heat trapping gases that have come from industrialization, are contributing primarily to the climate change that we're already seeing," said Etterson.

So she says anything you can do to cut down on the amount of CO2 being emitted is especially important.

Etterson says buying local foods, and eating foods lower on the food chain reduces the amount of energy that is being used to transport foods. She also encourages the use of public transportation.

To see the original story and read more reporting form WDIO-TV, follow this link to their website.

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