Climate Change And My Skepticism

September 13, 2018 10:50 AM

Is climate change real? I don’t know is my honest answer. Over the years, I’ve tended to be skeptical about the idea of it. My take has been that the world is constantly changing so, of course, there would be changes in temperatures, weather events, Arctic sea ice levels and the like.

The one thing this old world hasn’t faced before, though, is the impact she faces from the 7.6 billion people who call her home. That fact has caused me to step back and look at climate change from a different perspective. Some members of production agriculture, like Texas ranchers Gary and Sue Price, are taking another look at the issue as well.

The Prices, who are featured in a new USDA-SARE publication, Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches, say they first began noticing disruptive changes in the weather about 10 years ago, with dry periods getting drier and hot periods getting hotter. So they began making management decisions that would help their ranch adapt. As a result, Gary says when the crippling drought of 2011–2012 arrived, they were able to get by.

“You just don’t know what’s around the next corner, so you have to prepare for the worst,” Price says. “Hope for the best of course, but you know, hope is not a plan.”

Time will tell whether we’re dealing with climate change or something else. But we all know the Prices are right about one thing--you have to prepare for the future and the factors your farm will face, regardless of what they might be.

Even if you’re skeptical of climate change, consider giving USDA’s booklet a read. The 28-page publication outlines how to evaluate climate challenges to your farming operation and how to identify practices that can reduce those risks and improve resilience. It’s an interesting read and, better yet, it’s available for free.

Download the PDF now

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Spell Check

cooper, IA
9/14/2018 11:21 AM

  one last thing, do any of you supporting the theory of man made climate change understand the methodology used to collect the data? That we are talking tenths of degrees of fluctuations and that forensic temperature collection is nowhere near that accurate. Margins of error are many degrees. Even in modern data collection there are significant changes that would affect theory. Weather station locations are changed sometimes miles from the previous station.

Dan B
9/14/2018 12:38 PM

  Thanks for a practical article and the link. I'm kinda with you: I wasn't there except for what I've seen myself. Buckle up your seat belts. By the way, I lean toward the science that says there's probably a connection between our activities and global warming. Why study science if you're not going to use it to design and plan?

capron, IL
9/15/2018 09:26 AM

  I have made my living farming for the past forty years, I am not a scientist. My views on this subject have been built on my observations of our changing climate from my childhood. Then through farming the rest of my life. 1980's - early 2000's at the time it didn't seem too much different than when I was a kid. This last decade of weather bares little resemblance to the years of my youth. It can be easy to discard weather observations of one farmer in one location. Justifiably so it's not backed-up by science. There were scientists studying gasses in the 1820's their theory was carbon held more heat and was basically creating a blanket in our atmosphere. They started their studies to try to explain the ice ages and how the earth warmed from that time. Their equations and data were far too poor to prove it but they knew even then that our atmosphere was keeping the suns rays heat in our planet. That theory was later proved correct. By the 1890's there were several other scientists studying CO2 emissions and they realized with all the coal being burned in the industrial revolution there were tons of CO2 being released every year. Not until the 1950's was it able to be proven with a new tool, radioactive isotope carbon 14. The scientists were now able to prove for a fact the carbon we humans were burning was showing up in the atmosphere. In 1985 a French and Soviet drilling team started to drill ice cores in Antartica. They stopped in 1997 they had recovered ice going back 400,000 years. What they had found through several ice ages was a high and low of CO2. The lowest reading was 180 ppm of CO2 and the highest was 280 ppm. In 1997 when they finished drilling, the CO2 in the atmosphere at that time was 350 ppm. Higher than any time in the last 400,000 years. We are now at 390 ppm of CO2. Facts born out the theory the scientists started with. It doesn't really matter if you believe in global warming or not, our descendants will have to deal with it.


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