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updated: 4/9/2013 7:55 AM

McKnight Foundation grants to fight climate change

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Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The McKnight Foundation is putting $25 million into two programs that are working to combat climate change with a focus on the Midwest.

The grants from the foundation's new Midwest Climate & Energy program will aim to support strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy and increased energy efficiencies in agriculture and transportation, the Star Tribune reported Monday .

The money will go to two groups -- the Energy Foundatation and RE-AMP -- that will focus on developing policies and public education to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.

Given that the Midwesterners contribute 22 percent more greenhouse gases per capita than other Americans because of the region's heavy reliance on coal for power, McKnight board chairman Ted Staryk said the region is "uniquely well-positioned to turn the dial the other direction."

"The Midwest is historically the industrial heartland. Also the agricultural heartland. Also the most carbon-dependent part of the country," said Michael Noble, chairman of RE-AMP's clean energy working group. "But we also have vast renewable energy resources. The wind energy is phenomenal. We have the best, cheapest solutions."

The McKnight Foundation was established in 1953 by William L. McKnight, a former president and CEO of 3M Co., and his wife. Its priorities include regional economic and community development, the arts, the environment, neuroscience, international crop research and early literacy.

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