Planet Gore

Detroit Goes Green . . . As Michigan Crops Freeze

Detroit — From peaches to pumpkins to strawberries to wheat, cooling temperatures this year have reduced Michigan’s crop yields and caused widespread economic harm to farmers.
At a time when the state’s Number One industry, autos, is struggling under federal global warming mandates to build greener cars, agriculture — Michigan’s Number Two industry — is suffering losses due to persistent cold weather. The chilling news arrives even as the entire Michigan Democratic Congressional delegation is pushing a massive global-warming tax that would target the state’s manufacturing and coal-fired utilities.
Farmer Sandee Ware, reports the Traverse City Record-Eagle, has had “her share of sleepless nights while tending strawberries, and cold weather also diminished the farm’s trademark asparagus production. ‘It slows it down so much, it hardly grows at all,’ Ware said of the asparagus crop. ‘We’ve had several vendors we couldn’t supply at all this year because it’s been so cold.’ ”

“The pumpkins — if they had a chance to grow — are smaller in size and yield than last year’s crop, growers and agriculture experts say,” reports the Detroit News.
Just two years ago, Governor Jennifer Granholm warned of “the impact of global warming” and formed the Michigan Climate Action Council to come up with a comprehensive state plan to fight global warming which now includes an RPS mandate and wind farm subsidies.
Just last month, the Union for Concerned Scientists released a report warning that global warming will cause “serious damage (to) Michigan’s climate and economy.”
“We’ve seen higher average annual temperatures, more frequent downpours, longer growing seasons, and fewer cold snaps,” said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and report co-author, in direct contradiction of observed conditions on the ground. Her report says that “Michigan’s agriculture sector, the state’s second largest industry, would suffer from substantially more heat stress. . . . Crop yields also would suffer.”
Cherry-picking one year’s data, the UCC report said that “in 1988, (a) heat wave reduced corn yields in Michigan by more than 75 percent compared with annual average yields between 1978 and 1997. Crop production also would be threatened by changing rain patterns, ranging from wetter springs to almost 10 percent less rain during the increasingly hot summers.” But the report ignores all data since.
The planet has not warmed since 1997 and Michigan has set a series of records for low temperatures. Furthermore, lake levels are rising in spite of UCC’s claim that “Great Lakes water levels are projected to decline.”
Michigan pumpkin grower Gary Whittaker, reports the News, says “his patch produced far fewer pumpkins this year. ‘Heavy rain and not a lot of warm nights — I definitely didn’t have a good yield.’ ”
Perhaps Mr. Whittaker can mitigate his financial losses by turning his warmth-starved fields over to state-subsidized, global-warming-fighting windmills.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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