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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Climate change and agriculture: Decisions we make today set the stage for tomorrow – High Plains Journal


For nearly three decades, climate change has been a controversial topic. However, more data in recent years reveals the world is warming faster partially due to humans’ use of energy and the introduction of ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The inserted figure shows how the earth has warmed over time. This very complex problem requires complex solutions. I hope to shine some light on the fact that a warming planet impacts all of us, especially the agriculture business, so Americans need to embrace and lead change to make things better for future generations.

Fossil fuels are relatively cheap and very reliable sources of energy that have led to our prosperity and increased our quality of life tremendously. Unfortunately, a by-product of all the good fossil fuels generate is that they cause the planet to warm faster than normal. Making concrete, steel, and plastic accounts for 31% of annual CO2 production. Electricity is a close second at 27%, while the agriculture business of growing things (plants and animals, including making fertilizer), is third at 19%. New predictions show the earth warming 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4F) by 2100 from today’s temperatures. This is actually an improvement from past projections. While this may not sound like much, it takes a lot of energy to warm the globe. We have only increased about 1 degree in over 100 years. This includes the recent 0.85 degrees since a NASA baseline from 1951 to 1980. Small increases have large effects, including longer droughts and more weather extremes. Best case, with large changes required in our behavior now and breakthrough technologies, we will increase another degree. Worst case, it will be two to three times that. The good news is that America is wealthy, and we can adapt. The bad news is it will still be costly and challenge us as a world leader. If we do nothing, it increases the probability of conflict from mass migrations and limited resources. If the U.S. fails to act and lead, we are not fulfilling our responsibility as a country still seen globally as that beacon of light for the rest of the world.


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