‘It’s not looking good for corn’ - new video from Peter Sinclair

Here's a new video from Peter Sinclair, the latest in his excellent 'This is not cool' series, reposted from the Yale Forum. I've long admired Peter's incisive techniques when it comes to communicating the reality of climate change and the dangers it poses. In this case, with severe problems in the arable sector of the USA due to the prolonged heat and drought that has been experienced, climate change is going to hit a lot of ordinary people in the pocket as food prices rise in response. Perhaps someone ought to ask James Inhofe, Republican Senator for drought-stricken Oklahoma, what he plans to do about that. It's supposed to be his job, after all. But don't hold your breath. In a March 2009 speech, he declared:

"I will now report to you about the skeptical Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change in New York City this week. As the most outspoken critic of man-made global warming alarmism in the United States Senate, I am pleased to see the world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics assemble in New York City to confront the issue, “Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?”

Meanwhile, back home in Oklahoma, triple-digit temperatures continue and the wildfires burn on. Over to Peter:


 ‘This Is Not Cool’ Video: Focus on 2012 Weather Extremes

“Oh the weather outside is frightful.”

You can forget about the next line … chances of snow are nil for most of the United States for the next several months.

It’s the first line of the second verse that might be a bit more relevant, though not very comforting: “It doesn’t show signs of stopping.”

Holiday carolers and those behind the “Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow” lyrics could not have had the nation’s 2012 spring and summer in mind when they penned those words.

But the wildfires plaguing much of the nation’s west … the wilting and widespread droughts across much of the country’s “Grain Belt”… the blistering high temperatures across wide swaths of the country — all those play out in The Yale Forum‘s new video, “2012 Drought Update.”

The eight-and-one-half minute video couples historical footage with contemporary clips and news segments. In one of the latter, for instance, NBC anchor Brian Williams opens the network’s flagship news program with the words: “It’s now official. We are living in one of the worst droughts of the past 100 years.”

This month’s “This Is Not Cool” video shows NASA scientist James Hansen early and later cautioning about risks of “extreme droughts” in the nation’s breadbasket, such as those now commanding headlines. It captures Illinois Governor Pat Quinn warning of “the driest time” and “the hottest weather” in his state’s history. West Lafayette, Indiana, newscasters express concerns about the growing percentage of the nation officially designated as being in a “drought condition.”

NOAA climate scientist Tom Karl tells a national television audience that scientists increasingly “can actually say with some confidence that these events would not have been as strong or as intense if it were not for the greenhouse gases I the atmosphere.”

And a Michigan State University crop and soil scientist, Phil Robertson, cautions that “it’s certainly not looking good for corn.” Robertson advises that genetics and new planting strategies might help the agricultural community cope with chronic changes in weather. But it’s the variability of longer heat waves and hard-to-predict seasonal droughts — more difficult to predict and having more critical effects on crops — that Robertson says might pose particular challenges.

The video — which points to a 118 degrees F day in June in Norton Dam, Kansas — uses a basketball metaphor to illustrate how a warmer atmosphere has “raised the floor …. all plays are starting from a higher level.” Making for more slam dunks and illustrating how “the stats have begun to change.”

But they’re not of the crowd-pleasing variety. And no one is rooting for more of the kinds of slam dunks Midwest farmers are trying to defend against in the summer of 2012.


Posted by John Mason on Monday, 6 August, 2012

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