Panelists Discuss Global Warming's Effect on Natural Disasters - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Panelists Discuss Global Warming's Effect on Natural Disasters

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MISSOULA -

The University of Montana hosted a panel on Typhoon Haiyan on Tuesday, and the storm's connection to global warming.

Panelist Dr. Steve Running said in some areas across the globe, greenhouse gases -- like carbon dioxide -- increase ocean temperatures, a key ingredient in the formation of a typhoon.

"We don't think more storms are occurring, but we think when a storm is triggered, that it has a better chance of really becoming a monster," he explained.

Running said burning coal for electric power is the single biggest source of greenhouse gases in the world. He said putting a stop to coal exports -- an ongoing debate in Montana -- is key to making a dent in global emissions.

"And if we're not willing to stop doing that, then nothing else matters," Running said.

He said the record-breaking intensity of Typhoon Haiyan and the storm's devastating aftermath, also proves the importance of giving more advanced warning of such storms.

"Just be better prepared for emergency response."

Running said people can do their part to cut down on emissions by swapping appliances for more energy-efficient models, or commuting to work on a bike, rather than by car.

"Every person, if you start acting, you know what can we do, even an individual, someday we could at least help change global warming," said Julie Swor, another speaker at the panel.

Swor said the typhoon struck her hometown of Cebu, but her sister and father survived the storm.

Swor said she's returning to the Philippines next week, armed with donations collected at the panel.

"I want to give something to those people, especially in really desperate need."

To make a donation to victims of the typhoon, email Julie Swor: julz_mines@yahoo.com.

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