Comments on climate change made by Rep. Jeff Backer, R, Browns Valley and Sen. Torrey Westrom, R, Elbow Lake at Feb. 15 town hall meeting at the library in Morris are concerning.
Backer and Westrom said, in summary, not all the science about climate change is sound and that there is scientific evidence that contradicts some of the sciencitific evidence on climate change.
Minnesota, the U.S. and the nation don't have time to debate this issue. Climate change is a fact. Warming temperatures, abnormalities such as several inches of snow in Arizona and extreme cold in other countries and torrential rainfalls of 2018 in parts of Minnesota are just some of the proof of climate change. Doubters will use the recent extreme cold and unusual snowfalls in warm states as signs that global warming is a falsehood or that the situation is not as bad as scientists warn.
Here's some facts from the NASA website: "Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves."
Climate change will impact agriculture in Stevens County. Farmers will need to consider different crops and will need to deal with different weather patterns in the growing season. Climate change will impact how we feed our pigs, cattle, turkeys and other livestock and how we care for them.
Recent scientific reports state that we only have a finite number of years to turn things around. Maybe 15, maybe 20, maybe longer.
While the Feb. 15 comments from Backer and Westrom are concerning, the two legislators haven't completely turned their backs on efforts to pursue green energy and related topics. Officials from the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris have thanked Backer and Westrom for their legislative efforts on renewable energy and similar projects. Backer and Westrom have also supported alternative crop research at the USDA North Central Soils Conservation Lab in Morris. The projects and the research at WCROC and the Soils Lab will help farmers reduce energy use, reduce their carbon footprint and help them deal with the impact of climate change. In short, WCROC and the Soils Lab are working to help avert the overall climate change crisis.
Such support of the WCROC and Soils Lab work is encouraging. But, Backer and Westrom have an opportunity to lead in the Legislature. They can push for funding for projects such as the manufacturing of solar panels and programs that can help businesses, residents and farmers switch to more efficient and renewable energy. They can abandon any doubt about climate change science.
A portion of their constiuency may disagree with them in the beginning, but in the end, Backer and Westrom will be thanked.