New Mexico Emissions Battle

New Mexico – A University of Arizona professor of geosciences says temperatures across the West are rising and predictions of climate change are coming true.

Jonathan Overpeck testified Tuesday before the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board, which is considering a proposal by the state Environment Department for a greenhouse gas cap and trade program.

The state called Overpeck as a witness to dispute claims by critics that climate change science is questionable.

Overpeck says the West is significantly warmer than the average during the 20th century and that hotter temperatures have resulted in reduced snowpack, drought and large wildfires.

He says current climate knowledge indicates that the choice for policymakers is likely between slowing carbon emissions or planning for a hotter, more arid Southwest.

The hearing is expected to wrap up Thursday in Santa Fe.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.