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UO professor: Don't panic about global warming; plant to combat it

University of Oregon professor Greg Retallack presents "How Fossils Foretell the Future" at Eugene Library, Sept. 20, 2017. (SBG image)

EUGENE, Ore. -- "We've been there before; we've been there many times actually." Don't panic about global warming; plant to combat it.

That's the message University of Oregon professor Greg Retallack gave during a presentation at the Eugene Library Wednesday evening on "How Fossils Foretell the Future."

Just this year, Oregon legislation deemed the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History the state's official repository for publicly owned paleontological collections starting in 2018.

The museum now holds nearly 100,000 curated specimens from which Dr. Retallack says they can track where carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were in years past.

"The middle Miocene…that's about 16 million years ago, and that spike rose to the level we expect to see in 2100 of CO2,” the professor said, “so, it's kind of a ‘Back to the Future’-defining level where we can see what Oregon was like then and can get an idea of what it will be like in the future."

Dr. Retallack says the best way to lower the carbon levels is a way he says scientists and some agriculturists are already doing -- by planting grasslands to pull CO2 out of the air and into the soil.

For more information on the topic, visit naturalhistory.uoregon.edu.

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