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Published: Friday 26 July, 2013

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Rep. Chip Cravaack is leading a Republican effort in the House to block funding for a climate change initiative shoes outlet uk that provides money to education programs around the nation, including at Carleton College in Northfield and the Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.

Cravaacks proposal, offered as an amendment to an annual spending bill, made the firstterm Minnesota member of Congress the focus of a legislative duel Wednesday over climate change, with Democrats and environmentalists rallying against the GOP measure.

A redundant global warming program can hardly be justified, he said.

Carleton has received nearly $255,000 through the program since 2010. The Como Zoo is part of a zoo educational network on national climate literacy that has received $1.2 million.

House Democratic leaders denounced the measure as part of a broader effort to cast doubt on climate change. Scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate is changing rapidly because of greenhouse gases, but it remains a contentious political issue.

Rather than taking action to reduce emissions and avoid the worse impacts of climate change, House Republicans have opted to deny the basic science, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Commi shoes outlet uk ttee, wrote in a letter to colleagues. Rep. Chip Cravaack is continuing this headinthesand approach.

Cravaack said his amendment is about duplication, not climate change: However you feel about global warming that is not the debate today. This amendment addresses a duplicative program costing us money we simply do not have.

Cravaacks office did not respond to a request for his position on global warming. Last year he voted for a measure to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases to address climate change, saying that power should be reserved to Congress.

Environmentalists questioned why his push to end duplication is aimed directly at climate change education programs. There is very little investment in climate change education, said Patrick Fitzgerald, director of education advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. Fitzgerald argued that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs cited by Cravaack are not the same as climate change education programs. Hes comparing apples to oranges, Fitzgerald said.

The skirmish over the amendment represents one of the first big spending battles of an electionyear Congress, many of them echoing the themes of the years presidential race.

President Obama already has threatened to veto the $51.1 billion spending bill over proposed GOP spending cuts to an array of programs in the Commerce and Justice departments, as well as in other agencies.

Cravaacks amendment would eliminate funding for a national initiative to reach more than 20 million zoo visitors each year with information about climate change. The Como Zoo took part in a planning survey for the project, which is being led by the Chicagobased Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network.

Researchers with the group released a report in April showing that zoo and aquarium visitors are more concerned about climate change than the general public. In announcing the report, Como Zoo Director Michelle Furrer said visitors are clearly concerned about climate change, and these survey findings give us the opportunity to help visitors adopt greener lifestyles and reduce their environmental footprint.

The grant at Carleton is part of an ongoing nationwide initiative to collect peerreviewed teaching materials on climate literacy and energy awareness. What would be lost are additions t shoes outlet uk hat come from new projects, said Cathy Manduca, director of Carletons Science and Education Resource Center. In climate science, its important to have new things because climate science itself is evolving very fast. shoes outlet uk