« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Sharon E. Buhr, Valley City, N.D., Published March 16 2013

Letter: Climate affects farming

A resolution was introduced in the North Dakota Senate (SCR 4024) that directed “the legislative management to study the effects of climate change on this state.” The Senate Natural Resources Committee recommended a do not pass.

Why did the committee make this recommendation? Do they not believe in climate change? Have they not done enough reading to recognize that climate change is happening? A study by the University of Oregon, working with Harvard University, reported last week in the Journal of Science that the Earth’s temperature is now rising super-fast. It has risen 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years compared to the fact it took 5,000 years to go up that amount. They studied sea animals imbedded in the earth dating from 11,000 years ago.

The rates of change show how atypical our warming is now. These and other climate scientists predict the climate warming will continue. NASA is quoted as saying “climate changes to come will be larger than anything that human civilization and agriculture has seen in its entire existence.”

Satellite data has confirmed that the polar ice caps – yes, both the Arctic and the Antarctic – are melting, and have melted faster in the past 20 years than in the past 10,000 years, and that the melting ice caps are raising sea levels at an accelerating rate.

An international accord of 192 countries in 1997 called the Kyoto Protocol has acknowledged that global warming exists and that action should be taken to protect our planet.

So, don’t our legislators believe that climate change exists?

And if they do believe in climate change, why wouldn’t they want to understand how it will affect North Dakota? Agriculture remains our No. 1 industry, and all farmers know that what crops are raised on their land depends on the climate.

We already know that a mere rise of 1 degree F globally over the past 50 years has caused a 5.5 percent decline in wheat production, according to David Lobell, a professor at Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment.

And the Legislature’s own national advisory organization, the National Conference of State Legislatures, has stated that “in the coming decades, a changing climate is likely to affect North Dakota’s economy.” It predicts higher temperatures and worsening droughts for the state, and that agriculture, water resources and tourism may be affected and result in significant losses.

Do members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee not believe their own professional organization?

Or is the Senate Natural Resources Committee afraid to recognize the obvious, that much of the greenhouse gasses that are being emitted in North Dakota could be prevented? How can our state allow one-third of our natural gas to be flared (a precious resource lost forever) and contribute to climate change?

If this resolution would pass, and the state studied how climate change is affecting North Dakota, they may learn that reinstating the incentives to farmers who put up wind towers is a benefit to all of us (the Legislature in this session has denied them that benefit). And that incentives for solar energy should be reinstated for farmers and corporations alike, and that promoting businesses in North Dakota to produce solar equipment helps our entire state.

The entire Senate was not enlightened and voted to kill SCR 4024 – the resolution to study the effects of climate change on our beautiful state.