A legislative committee heard Wednesday from supporters of a bill that would create a state task force on climate change.
Proponents included Lincoln author-psychologist Mary Pipher, who called Legislative Bill 802 an opportunity to educate and work through problems relating to climate change.
“If we are practical and prudent and make solid plans in the ways we operate, we will not only mitigate the effects of climate change, but we will improve our state in many ways in the present,” she told members of the Nebraska Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.
Under LB 802, sponsored by Malcolm State Sen. Ken Haar, the task force would include the leaders of five legislative committees and representatives from applicable agencies.
The bill would also create a state strategic plan on the impact that climate change has on the health and quality of life of Nebraskans.
“This bill is not a debate on climate change,” he said.
The measure comes after a University of Nebraska-Lincoln study spelled out the implications of a rapidly warming world.
UNL conducted the study, which includes the role of humans in climate change, after a study authorized by the Legislature was to exclude such factors. The Legislature’s study was later canceled.
The annual Nebraska Rural Poll survey last year found that 61 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the state should develop a plan to adapt to the effects of climate change. Seventeen percent disagreed.
Haar said he has “hope for the future” after a climate summit at the State Capitol last week drew about 65 young people.
“Because young people get it,” he said. “They understand.”
Fourteen people testified in support of the bill; no one testified in opposition. The committee took no action on the bill.
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