Tuesday, April 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ranchers coming around on global warming

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | July 26, 2014 |

The chorus of global-warming deniers has not shrunk. Outcries claiming the entire issue is fraudulent are not going away.

But realism is also slowly setting in among some California groups that long tried to wish away the issue by claiming any warming that’s happening is strictly a cyclical natural phenomenon.

California ranchers are now among the first interest groups to realize that like it or not, global warming can no longer be denied with any semblance of accuracy. Very gradually, ranchers are seeing the grasslands they depend upon to feed their cattle begin to shrink and convert naturally to shrub land.

What’s the difference? Shrubs have a greater ability to withstand wildfires, but cattle don’t like to eat them. This means the more grasslands gradually shift to chaparral-like shrubbery, the more ranchers must spend on hay.

For consumers, that means more expensive beef, from filet mignon to hamburger.

It’s not that grassland is disappearing quickly or that the loss is inevitable. But there has already been some acreage lost, mostly in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. A 2013 study from Duke University and the Environmental Defense Fund concluded that if global warming continues its present trends, it will hike California ranchers’ spending on hay by upwards of $235 million a year within the next half-century.

That time frame is similar to predictions made two years ago by the state Natural Resources Agency, which concluded that if current trends continue (sea level along the California coast having risen 8 inches since 1910), as many as 500,000 people who live near beaches and marshes will be threatened with flooding by the end of this century.

Climate-change denial tends to run stronger among political conservatives than others, so an interesting contradiction is arising. These are usually the same folks who oppose increasing national debt levels for fear of fobbing large burdens onto generations to come. Why, if they don’t want to impose financial burdens on their descendants, do they not mind hitting those same generations with an environmental calamity?

Maybe because they don’t believe there’s anything humans can do about global warming, which many conservative politicians and writers ascribe to nature. They ignore, though, the hundreds of academic studies that have found increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are associated with higher ambient temperatures.

Maybe, also, they don’t think a degree or two of difference in average temperatures makes much difference. The once-large and permanent ice fields visible from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park offer some evidence to the contrary: Photographed a century ago at midsummer by the legendary Ansel Adams and others, they are now all but gone. There was barely a glimmer of ice visible from the point last July and there’s less each year. It’s the same at Glacier National Park in Montana, which may now be a misnomer.

So even if the warming visible on rangelands and high mountain peaks were mostly from natural causes, it is helped along by human activity that produces carbon dioxide. That means today’s adults have an obligation to their children to do whatever they can to contain it.

True, some other countries and much of America are doing little or nothing about all this. Does that excuse Californians from our responsibility? Meanwhile, plenty of other countries have acted similarly to this state’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.

One officer of the California Cattlemen’s Association, which just over two years ago issued a statement opposing all cap-and-trade legislation, later said in a rangeland conference at the University of California, Davis that climate change (natural or not) is “certainly going to impact all the other natural resources that we’ve worked to steward for so many years.”

This change of attitude toward climate change from an organization that’s anything but politically liberal was remarkable.

Whether it presages movement among other interest groups that have consistently fought climate change legislation is an open question. But it demonstrates that ideology can sometimes go out the window when confronted with hard reality.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • tRY READING mICHAEL cHRICTON STATE oF FEEaRJuly 26, 2014 - 2:52 am

    Global warming, Y2K and killer bees from Africa. Do you have anything substantive to report or are scaremill tactics still working in the free press? I wish people would be smart enough to correlate the 13 year solar cycle with average temperature and then add in the fact that every year more humans are born therefore creating more carbon-dioxide. Do you expect the air to be healthier if more and more people keep sucking down all the oxygen?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PornacJuly 26, 2014 - 7:25 am

    Keep abortion legal for less people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DanielJuly 26, 2014 - 6:39 am

    The ultimate issue is not and never has been, is there climate change- obviously there's been climate change, even dramatic climate change since this planet's birth. The question is can mere mortal man significantly control the global weather with gimmicks like carbon taxes, redistribution and de-industrializing? If we abandoned the fossil fuel automobile, walked and lived in caves, to what degree with that affect the global climate? All studies show virtually no affect at all, possibly one millionth of one degree, is the sacrifice to our lives and the economy worth what the non-scientifically politicians worth the sacrifice?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Explore habitat of bats at special Solano-Yolo event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Train hits car, kills 1

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: | Gallery

 
Dollar Tree settles illegal dumping case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
Man walks to bring awareness to need for divorce reform

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘The Mask You Live In’ set for Vacaville premiere

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Woman reported missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: | Gallery

Caltrans reminds motorists of Highway 12 bridge work

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Thor, Iron Man, Captain America return to movie screens

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Chambers plans Cinco de Mayo celebration

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A7

 
Rio Vista to celebrate endive once again

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A7

Full slate of events on tap in downtown Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 26, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 25, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 24, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

 
Loretta Lynch sworn in as new US attorney general

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

GOP defense budget challenges Obama on Ukraine, Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Senate expands community colleges’ reach on sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tuna company, 2 employees charged in death of worker in oven

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woman convicted of murder after young daughter disappeared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ex-Guantanamo detainees in Uruguay protest at US Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cash handoffs, extortion fuel Mediterranean trafficking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in woman’s shooting arrested after 5-hour standoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
High court rejects appeal from protester at military base

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Study blames global warming for 75 percent of very hot days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nepal quake death toll tops 4,000; villages plead for aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Corinthian Colleges closes all 28 remaining campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
California teen confesses to fatally stabbing 9-year-old boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

New Ellis Island center to complete US immigration story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US, Japan boost defense ties with eyes on China, NKorea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Coast Guard suspends search for 4 missing off Alabama coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tiny California tribe turns to adoption to boost revenue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Yemen’s exiled government declares 3 disaster zones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tuesday’s the day: Gay marriage arguments at Supreme Court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prosecutor: 2 exams found James Holmes to be sane

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Judge won’t delay order on inmate sex reassignment surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

UN: Israeli military killed 44 Palestinians at UN shelters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Thousands attend funeral for Freddie Gray in Baltimore

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Opinion

Time for multiple-county tourism, arts, downtown project

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What’s Marco Rubio’s secret?

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Jayne Meadows, actress and TV personality, dies at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Winehouse family criticizes ‘misleading’ movie about singer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Singer Jamie Barton wins the ‘Heisman Trophy’ of music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Kim Kardashian: supports Bruce Jenner’s gender transition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Rushdie chastises authors protesting Hebdo tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
It’s nail-biting time on Broadway ahead of Tony nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

‘Black-ish’ creator set to write ‘Good Times’ movie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Don Mankiewicz, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, dies at 93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Salma Hayek hopes ‘The Prophet’ inspires new generations

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TVGrid April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

 
Dodgers pitcher McCarthy out for season with elbow injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks near agreement to extend lease in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders head into draft in need of receiver, pass rusher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pacquiao, Roach scheme on plan for Mayweather’s defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A new format, more golf for all at Match Play

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Orioles’ game in Baltimore postponed due to safety concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to stay sharp while waiting for 2nd round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kerr wins Rudy Tomjanovich Award from Pro Basketball Writers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cards ace Adam Wainwright out for season with torn Achilles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Owner Ahmed Zayat takes aim at Kentucky Derby with 3 horses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Equestrian aims for more nations competing at Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cavaliers move on without Love, out with dislocated shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Redskins to pick up 5th-year option on Robert Griffin III

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rare Honus Wagner baseball card sells for $1.32 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Arrest warrant sought for UFC champ in hit-and-run crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hamilton given back to Texas after troubled Angels stint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
89-year-old former Kansas player scores in alumni scrimmage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Arena talks underway in Seattle suburb with eye on hockey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vegas sets up ‘concentric’ security for upcoming megafight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Packers will retire Favre’s jersey on Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Grizzlies G Mike Conley has facial surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Peterson absent but still wanted back by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

Ex-executive gets prison for $27M insider trading scheme

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
High court to consider lawsuits over personal data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Discover discovers Apple Pay for its US cardholders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
With economy uncertain, no Fed rate hike is seen before fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Change to Greek bailout negotiating team fuels market hopes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Burger King heats it up with spicy Whopper and sales surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Forget the watch: Apple’s iPhones are still the main event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Truckers at huge seaport complex strike; impact minimal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN suing Verizon over unbundling of its sports channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Industry tries to block genetically modified food labeling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose April 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4