Dave Domina Responds to U.S. National Climate Report

Press Release – May 7, 2014

The document distributed by the White House today is not a publication of the White House. This is the official scientific publication of the US National Climate Assessment Team assembled by the US Climate Change Research Program pursuant to a long-standing act of Congress. The law requires that a Report be distributed on a periodic basis. This is not a political document. It is a scientific report.

The scientists who authored this Report include Dr. Terry Mader, of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Dr. Mader participated, specifically, in the preparation of Chapter 16 concerning the Great Plains region. Nebraska’s scientific community is represented in this Report.

The “fine print” in the Report includes a rating system whereby the scientists rated their level of confidence in the Report’s conclusions. In each instance, the scientists concluded a confidence level in reported observations at the highest level of the scale available to them.

The Report is another alarm bell. It cautions the Nation, and Nebraska’s citizens living in its most rural, and its most urban locations, that fossil fuel consumption has already dramatically affected weather and weather patterns, farming, livestock production, and food costs.  And, it and will impact food supplies. This is not simply because weather patterns are changed. There are much more subtle and dangerous problems: pathogens previously killed by colder winters will survive.  Weed seeds, insect eggs and larva, and disease previously combated by standard weather patterns now have lost natural controls. This will get worse according to the Report. Farmers and livestock producers are combating this now in their fields and feed yards. Nebraska’s citizens are cautioned to expect these problems at home.

The Report contains specific cautions that the food supply produced in Nebraska and its neighboring states will come under increasing pressures and suffer more sustainability dangers.  The Report concludes that despite mitigation efforts now in progress in Nebraska and across the Nation, efforts to address human induced climate change are inadequate and must be stepped up immediately.

This Report is completely consistent with statements made by the United Nations Secretary-General in the Middle East last weekend. There, the world heard the admonition of scientists assembled by the United Nations. Today, the White House tells us the findings of scientists assembled by the United States.

There is no time left to debate global warming or climate change. They are facts. There is no time left to debate when we will wean ourselves off fossil fuels, stop building infrastructure to accommodate fossil fuels, and turn our attention to clean, renewable sources of energy that do not contribute greenhouse gas emissions. We are out of time to plan to protect the environment. We must act as aggressively as possible. This must be an uncompromisible national priority.

Nebraska has a remarkable opportunity to benefit if it will step up and willingly lead the nation in an effort to reduce carbon consumption and production of greenhouse gases. Our State’s abundant wind and solar energy sources should be fully developed in the next 5 years, starting right now.

The United States Congress should immediately end all subsidies, credits, allowances, or other tax or financial programs that incentivize, encourage, or reward, exploration, drilling, development of mining resources, or transportation of fossil fuels. All historic US investments in these areas should be redirected to renewable energy.  Big oil has made enough money – indeed, far too much – at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers. It is past time to say “No” to big oil. Nuclear energy must also be given consideration.

Finally, the Report released today makes it clear that climate change is too important to become political fodder. An immediate bipartisan approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and exploiting opportunities that will create new jobs, new markets, new profits, and new opportunities for Nebraska and other agricultural states, should be undertaken. Nebraska’s elected officials owe it to every Nebraskan to be at the forefront of this effort. We must declare our fossil fuel energy independence. By doing so, and by leading the movement away from oil and toward our State’s natural advantages, we Nebraskans can declare our leadership, improve our economic circumstances, and take great pride in our courage.