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Corn+Soybean Digest

Climate deniers: Reader responses to climate change editorial

climate change
In December, Editor Kurt Lawton wrote a column called "Why climate deniers?" In his editorial, he wondered why farmers are denying that climate change is occurring. Lawton cited several pieces pointing to the change, and received many responses from valued readers expressing their thoughts on the climate change issue. Read their letters here!

Cyclical arguments

Hi Kurt,

I read your recent editorial, "Why Climate Deniers" with great interest. I believe you haven't really grasped why most farmers are bent on denying climate change.

As an agricultural scientist with the University of Kentucky and someone who also hangs around with people who would describe their religious and political leanings as being pretty conservative, I believe I have your answer.

Modern conservatives (probably most farmers ) tend to put near term economic stability and growth ahead of long term environmental sustainability in terms of priority. Liberals tend to think just the opposite.

With the above in mind, farmers are less inclined to want to believe climate change science because that would add validity to the view that we should move towards reducing use of fossil fuels as an energy source. While many conservatives might agree with this notion in principle, they balk at how this would be achieved. This is where things fall apart.

The thinking is that a move towards reduced reliance on fossil fuels would increase regulatory oversight by the government  (which seems to be true enough) and ultimately would increase the cost of energy. Furthermore, that increased energy costs would stifle economic stability/growth.

Since economic stability/growth has priority over long term sustainability, most conservatives cannot tolerate the possibility that climate change is real. And if they do, they would most violently deny that man has anything to do with it.

There you have it. A great cyclical argument for denying that man has anything to do with climate change.

Don Hershman, Princeton, KY

Respectively disagree


Great job on CSD. I respectively disagree with you on climate change. See attached editorial.

Moe Russell, Russell Consulting Group


Taken from Russell Consulting Group newsletter on 6/21/2014

Climate change- Get the facts

Having spent my entire life involved in agriculture, I find it disappointing that climate change was first blamed on coal, then agriculture and now livestock production when it is not supported by facts.

The atmosphere is composed of 77 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, about .91 percent argon and less than .04 percent carbon dioxide. While carbon dioxide has increased from 330 parts per million by volume in 1956 to 390 today, it has not impacted climate.

In the U.S., the winters of 2002-03, 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2013-14 were marked with temperatures that were significantly lower than normal, along with more snow than the average winter.

The sea ice in the artic expanded by nearly 50% in 2013. In fact since some of the computer models that predicted the Artic would become ‘ice free”, the amount of the Artic that is covered by ice has increased by more than two million square kilometers. That’s equal to 772,000 square miles, or an area larger than Mexico.

Additionally, data obtained from NOAA indicates the 5 year moving average of Land falling Tropical Storms is at the lowest level since 1911.

Climate always in flux


Your "science brain" assumes much if you believe your readers don't follow the issue of man made climate change, just because they don't buy the admittedly flawed research.  Using "heat island cities" for the temp readings, and tweaking the numbers to get the grant money results are just a sample of why a growing number of scientists as well as educated and informed farmers are skeptics.  Combining science and personal values is what the climate change worshippers are all about.  It rains, it's dry, it's hot, it's cold.  The climate is always in flux, but it has always changed, even before we started keeping record of the weather.  Unfortunately money is the driving force behind this religious movement.  Farmers, as well as all Americans will feel the financial chicken little results of your unscientific premise.  Please do more research on your own before you preach.  

Dan Frihauf, farmer, soil scientist and true environmentalist

Of course climate changes

Can't say I care much for your article in my newest corn soybean digest (Why Climate deniers?). I'm making the assumption that by saying climate change, you are actually referring to the so called global warming. What is your gain by printing the article? I'm not certain at all that you are correct and I know a lot of people who think as I do. Of course climate changes. The average temperature goes up and down. It always has. I don't feel the need to change my thinking by reading your article. You are pushing the same agenda as the radicals in the government who say there is a problem just so they can gain more power and control by needing to solve it. Most farmers realize that weather is the biggest factor in raising a good crop, or not. Their livelihood is produced by weather. Why do you say "Think Different" and hack on us when we do?

Larry Hancock, Knox County, Indiana

Farmers smart enough

Deniers?  You make it sound like us farmers have our head in the sand and you are so much smarter. The only thing you have done that is smart is change your headline from  "Global Warming" to "Climate Change".  Since the year 2000 the 5 year average temp in the US is getting cooler. Study the chart for yourself , 2008, 2009,  2013  (2014 will be colder) and you can see that the US ave. temp is only .25 degrees above the 100 year average.

Is that something you want us to lose sleep over? Us farmers are smart enough to KNOW that SURVEYS are written by someone with an ADGENDA and are after information or are trying to further THEIR cause or prove THEIR  theory.  

At one time Kansas was part of the ocean floor. At another time Kansas was under a glacier. You TRY to make it sound like the climate has never changed before and us farmers are idiots.

We deserve an apology from you.

Dallas Picolet

I am a denier

As a has-been (past American Soybean Association president-thank goodness and retired farmer) I want to tell you how much I enjoy your magazine.

Two comments--hope you will not turn off after this comment, but I am personally a denier.  Have a brother-in-law, Dr. Greg Holton, PhD in Environmental Science from UNC at Chapel Hill, who is a denier, not in climate change, but in the genesis of it.  Greg cites other sources, sun activity in particular, and history (Greenland and emerging settlements), and even the Martian ice caps, to refute as the primary factor of man-made global warming.  Not too long ago various scientists of repute in our area said that no-till would not work--it is working in practice now, maybe some day in theory.

Why do farmers almost universally, in my sphere, deny climate change--particularly man made climate change?  Several years ago I had a person who later ran for the US Senate (fortunately they lost) visit my farm.  I was told that they knew more about farming than I--after all they had graduated from Harvard and I had a piddling degree from Georgia Tech.  Farmers despise intellectual arrogance and when someone attempts to trump an argument by citing the preponderance of experts on one side or another we become doubly suspicious.   Secondly, all we farmers have a visceral fear of regulation--again "I know better syndrome" of the Ivy Leaguers ---who over populate DC beyond random distribution.  Many farmers see "Global Warming" and its attendant carriers as a power grab over our land and livelihood. Look no further than "the waters of the U.S" proposals.

Have spent more time in DC than I care to remember (276 nights in one Checkoff and Farm bill negotiation year).  DC is rife with "do gooders" who feel guilty over the well being of the US and her citizens.  Most scientists live and prosper by grants.  The lemming syndrome is very apparent in so many areas.  All of these factors make me very pessimistic as to the US economically, prospering thru the current and pending giveaway in Climate negotiations.   

James Lee Adams, past-president of ASA, Southeastern Farmer of the Year 2000

P.S. My views are not necessarily the views of ASA--am solely responsible for their idiocy. 

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