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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Wis. joins fight against global warming

Wisconsin became the twelfth state to join a Midwest organization focused on researching, financing and developing alternative energy resources in the form of biofuels last week.  


The North Central Bio-Economy Consortium is studying renewable sources, such as agriculture and forestry, that can be used for fuel, energy and power.  


According to Gary Radloff, director of policy and strategic communications at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the states will collaborate to address important ways to create a more sustainable world.  


""The whole issue is so important as we come to recognize the challenges of carbon release and global warming,"" Radloff said. ""We have to look toward renewable energy sources as part of that solution.""  


Radloff said northern Wisconsin has already had tremendous success using forest residues to produce alternative energy in a few schools across the region, but says the challenge now is to make its use more commercialized.  


""We can work with each other on current research projects, compare notes and see some federal dollars brought into the region in order to move us closer to commercialization,"" Radloff said.  


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A general trend toward renewable energy seems to be prevalent on both the nationwide and local level. According to UW-Madison student Lauren Crane, the co-coordinator for WISPIRG's ""Big Red Go Green"" campaign, the group's goal is to create a more sustainable campus. 


""Climate change is the issue of our generation, and we only have so long to make a difference before it's too late,"" Crane said.  


On a state level, state Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, introduced a bill last year which demands that 10 percent of government energy comes from renewable resources and continues to stress the importance of renewable energy. 


""Environmentally, the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming and other air pollutants,"" Black said. ""Wisconsin spends over ten billion dollars a year importing fossil fuels from other states and nations—a major drain on our economy."" 


Despite greater awareness about the issue of alternative resources, Radloff explains that many challenges still exist in the field.  


""To make energy efficient, both technological and societal changes will need to take place,"" Radloff said. ""People need to become more accepting of renewable energy substitutes and personally conserve more energy.""  


Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in Wisconsin, was elected President of the NCBEC, which Radloff said will allow Wisconsin to play a leadership role in this important organization.

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