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Is Duluth ripe for climate refugees? UMD discussion hopes to answer that question Wednesday

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson will join former Obama White House advisor and onetime chair of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Karen Diver in a panel discussion on the climate Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The panel is part of a two-day conference at UMD where multiple speakers and sessions will address the topic of Duluth becoming a climate refugee city, said a UMD news release.

UMD biology professor Julie Etterson said the conference posits the question: “Is it possible that unbearable weather and coastal flooding will set off a wave of human migration seeking more tolerable conditions?”

Larson and Diver will take the stage in the Marshall Performing Arts Center, 1215 Ordean Court, following a 7 p.m. Wednesday keynote address from Jesse Keenan, a Harvard faculty member.

“In one iteration of a climate future, Duluth may be well-positioned to accommodate a diverse influx of people, culture and capital associated with a national redistribution of people and places,” Keenan said in advance of his address.

The panel discussion will also include Al Rudeck, president for Duluth-based Allete Clean Energy. The event is scheduled to conclude by 9 p.m. Free tickets are available by contacting the Marshall box office at 218-726-8561.