Agriculture Secretary Perdue Right to Put the Lid on Alarmist Announcements

by | Jul 30, 2019 |

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There was a time when America’s farmers and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) could be put on a pedestal for honesty and ethics. The farmers are still there but the USDA has been politicized just as nearly every federal agency has been. This has been accomplished through the efforts of their technical staffs appointed by the Obama and previous administrations. These unelected career bureaucrats, often referred to as the ‘deep state,’ are staunch liberals or progressives (more appropriate called ‘regressives’), and, if not actually leftists, are certainly fighting for increased socialism. 

The current Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, was well chosen by President Donald Trump to put our agricultural house in order. He has filled the upper echelon of the agency with straight shooters. However, below the surface, the agency remains heavily influenced by those promoting the fraud that are destroying life as we know it through the use of our bountiful fossil fuels.

They do this by telling colossal lies about agriculture being severely diminished by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). This, despite the fact that most of us learned in high school that CO2 is the gas that keeps plants alive just as oxygen keeps us alive.

These biased scientists expect us to believe that a little extra warmth and a lot more CO2 will wreak havoc on our food supply. Happily, President Trump remembers his high school science well enough to recognize that this is nonsense and, accordingly, he has stopped the publishing of the agriculture department’s press releases of fraudulent science. He cannot easily get rid of the thousands of deep state leftists, but he can stifle their bull horns intended to scare the public with unscientific alarmist claims.

Here are the topics of some of the studies reported by politico.com that did not result in press releases touting them, presumably because Secretary Perdue blocked them as inappropriate and unscientific.

  • One of the biggest concerns of left leaning academics was that faster growing, larger rice grains would be bad for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on rice. Their studies showed that each rice grain would have a lower percentage of protein and certain minerals. While this may be true as a percentage, it is not the case as on a per grain basis. And clearly, the most important ingredient of rice is its calorie content which sustain that population. That would surely be increased.
  • Reports that pollution from farming is “likely to increase,” an unsubstantiated claim.
  • The fears that Prairie grass may contain less protein, an important source of nutrition for cattle, as a result of more CO2 and resulting photosynthesis. More weeds are also likely on our farms. While that too may be true, it is also true that yields of all our crops have increased as a result of increased CO2. This is why satellites show us that Africa is 24% greener than it was 30 years ago. 
  • They say that a little more warmth may result in an environment friendlier to insects. By and large, a little more warmth is friendlier to everything living on Earth, including us. And, of course, they are likely correct that we can see more pollen in the air too.
  • They propose that there might be more run-off from farms with increased CO2 in the air, but we suspect that this was forecast to be the result of growing more marijuana based on their legal use of now.
  • Forty-five studies dealing with climate change were not released as they were all unsubstantiated opinions not based on verifiable facts. Two were released because they dealt with facts—their calculations showed that cattle produce an insignificant amount of greenhouse gas (methane) compared to that in the atmosphere, and that removing beef from our diets to eliminate methane from cattle would have a negative impact on overall human diets.

In response to a question from politico.com regarding the decline of press releases on agriculture/climate studies, Secretary Perdue said in April:

“We know ‘that’ research, some has been found in the past to not have been adequately peer-reviewed in a way that created wrong information, and we’re very serious when we say we’re fact-based, data-driven decision makers. That relies on sound replicable science rather than opinion. What I see unfortunately happens many times is that we tried to make policy decisions based on political science rather than one sound science.”

If this causes your eyes to glaze over, just remember what we know for sure: CO2 makes up far less than one percent of the atmosphere’s heat trapping greenhouse gases and only one ten thousandth of all the molecules in the air. This places CO2 at one of the lowest levels in Earth’s history, leaving us far closer to a dangerously low level of the gas than any risk of too high a level. CO2 could triple and we would see nothing but positive effects.

Indeed, most plants are best adapted to far higher levels of CO2 than we currently have in the atmosphere, which is why greenhouse operators regularly boost the gas to 1200 parts per million, three times that found in the outside air.

The result? Plants grow faster and with less water requirements. Secretary Perdue is right to put the lid on alarmist climate claims.

Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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Dave James
Dave James
3 years ago

“The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change…” (Politico investigation, “Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change” by Helena Bottemiller Evich).
It is strange the author’s of this opinion piece who claim to be members of a climate science organization would support the government refusing to publicize studies warning about the effects of climate change.

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