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Scientist says it's time South Dakotans prepare for a warming climate

Hands point to climate change.

The attached audio is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

A South Dakota climate scientist hopes a new global agreement is followed by action.

World leaders met in Glasgow , Scotland, last week for a climate-change summit. After a lot of disagreement, they signed off on a new agreement to slow man-made emissions.

Bill Capehart is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. He said the best time to fight global warming is now.

“A lot of these goals typically are being made by say, 2050, when the current political bench will be retiring," he said. "Anyone can promise to be carbon neutral in 2050. It takes a considerable amount of work in order to make that happen.”

Capehart teaches his students to look for opportunities to make positive changes.

“Change your energy portfolio. There are manufacturing techniques for steel, that can get us away from having to use coal. Being able to produce solar," Capehart said. "All of these are going to be incredible challenges.”

Countries that participated in the summit hope to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times. The world has already warmed 2 degrees Fahrenheit.