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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

It’s Our Planet, Too

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

  In our President’s second inauguration speech in January, he addressed climate change with these words: “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition – we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasures – our forests and waterways, our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.” 

Well, he used all the right words, brought children and God into the discussion, and in reality, they are in it just like the rest of us. 

There is no doubt that our planet is warming, since 2000, the whole world’s combined land and ocean surface temperature is up one full degree above the 20th century average temperature, and so far in the 21st century, every single year has had temperatures which rank among the 14 warmest in the 133 year period of record. Worldwide, 2012 was the 10th warmest year since records began in 1880 and 2012 marks the 36th consecutive year (since 1976) that the annual temperature was above the long term average. Currently the warmest year on record worldwide is 2010.

Now everyone is pointing fingers at the cause or causes. I recently read a new study, published in Nature Climate Change, where researchers in Holland, the U.S. and Colombia compiled the results of 237 separate experiments from other published studies to explore the role of earthworms – that’s right earthworms – in global greenhouse gas emissions. The study said, “About 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions and two-thirds of nitrous oxide emissions come from soil. Emissions are produced by a number of natural biological processes involving plant roots and the microorganisms that live in the ground. The presence of worms affects how much carbon dioxide is produced in the soil and how much escapes to the atmosphere. Scientists are concerned that earthworms increase greenhouse gas emissions and that earthworm numbers are on the rise.”

So there you go. Maybe cows are off the hook now.

I agree with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who said, “The U.S. is a country, not a planet. On the other hand, if we unilaterally impose these things on the economy, it will have a devastating impact. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis to every one of these principles people are pushing on. The benefit is difficult to justify when it’s only us doing it, no one else is doing it.” 

So the war of words goes on and the world keeps getting warmer and we keep pointing fingers. 


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