More light, less heat, in climate debate - The Packer

More light, less heat, in climate debate

05/09/2014 11:25:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

In California, the report said, climate change could accelerate crop ripening, reduce yields of tree fruit and grapes and increase the need for irrigation.The name of the phenomenon has changed — from global warming to climate change to climate disruption — but does climate change by any other name spell potential disaster for humankind?

Some discount the issue of concern over greenhouse gas emissions, assigning the attention that government and media pay to the issues as a pretext to inevitable tax increases and burdensome regulations.

“Global warming” is certainly subject to occasional derision by pundits when parts of North America suffered through a seemingly endless winter.

That type of seat-of-the-pants score-keeping on climate change is meaningless, if entertaining.

The federal government issued the third National Climate Assessment in early May, and it suggests there are “multiple lines of independent evidence” confirming that human activities are the primary cause of the global warming in the past 50 years.

The report attempts to project the challenges that agriculture may face from climate disruption.

In particular, tree fruit growers may face escalating challenges from climate change in the next 25 years and beyond.

Projections show chilling requirements for fruit and nut trees in California will not be met by the middle to the end of the century.

In California, the report said, the combination of a longer frost-free season, less frequent cold air outbreaks, and more frequent heat waves will accelerate crop ripening, reduce yields of tree fruit and grapes and increase the need for irrigation.

The science of climate disruption and the public policy issues that accompany it will likely be debated for decades to come.

Despite the blind certitude often exhibited by believers and skeptics, there should be room enough for debate, disagreement, doubt — and compromise.

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