While politicians dither over climate change, a growing number of experts in fields like engineering, public planning, and agriculture are preparing for what they view as an inevitably changed planet.
That view was shared again on Friday by an expert from Monsanto, who spoke at a USDA conference in Washington, according to the Watertown Daily Times.
[T]he change isn’t that far away. Surface warming in the Northern Hemisphere has accelerated since the late 1960s, equivalent to moving Earth a million miles closer to the sun, said David Gustafson, senior fellow for water quality and agricultural sustainability with the Monsanto Co. Prospects for lessening the global warming effect are increasingly dim, Mr. Gustafson said. “Agriculture will, in fact, be forced to deal,” he said.
Change could affect the North Country’s dairy interesting in particular, writes the Times’ Mark Heller.
In New York, the trend toward warmer conditions could cost the state part of its advantage in the dairy industry: cool weather. Cows begin to experience heat stress when temperatures reach the mid-70s, and production suffers sharply as readings reach into the 80s and 90s.
“Dairy farmers could adapt to this by renovating barns with better cooling systems, but these costs would have to be weighed against potential risks and benefits,” wrote David W. Wolfe, a professor at Cornell University, Ithaca, in a paper on climate change and Northeast agriculture.