Year 4, Month 6, Day 23: Full Of That Yankee-Doodly-Dum

The Des Moines Register reports on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s words:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. farmers and ranchers must adapt or risk getting left behind as climate change becomes an increasingly influential part of the agricultural landscape, the head of the U.S. Agriculture Department said Wednesday.

During a speech in Washington, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said better technological advancements through products such as seed so far have been enough to maintain production levels despite more intense storms, forest fires and an increase in invasive species.

But Vilsack, who served two terms as Iowa’s governor, called the threat of a changing climate “much different than anything we’ve ever tackled” and warned that without more drastic changes the accelerating pace and intensity of global warming during the next few decades may soon begin to significantly affect agriculture.

“If we do not adapt and mitigate climate impacts, it could have an impact on yields, it could have an impact on where we grow, what we grow in the future,” Vilsack told reporters after a speech on the effects of climate change on agriculture. “This is not something that is a next week issue or a next year issue, but this is something that over the next several decades we’re going to continue to confront.”

Second letter today. June 7:

Climate-change deniers don’t have many options left. As the consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect become ever more evident, the old cliches are sounding increasingly tired. The science “isn’t settled”? Actually, the science of climate change is about as conclusive as it gets.

It’s a “liberal hoax”? Tell that to the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by droughts, extreme weather, invasive species, and rising sea levels.

It’s “too expensive” to deal with it? Of all the absurd responses, this one surely takes the cake. Preparing our infrastructure now so that we’ll be able to cope with the ongoing climate crisis in coming decades is obviously more cost-effective than waiting for catastrophic events and then mounting a response.

Agricultural productivity is going to take a huge hit in the next few years, as our carbon dioxide chickens come home to roost. Our survival as a nation hinges on our ability to take this clear and present danger with the seriousness it demands.

Warren Senders

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