Opinion: Georgia climate no longer very ‘peachy’

(AP)

The warmest winter in the global record has had a devastating impact on Georgia’s signature peach industry, reducing the expected crop by as much as 80 percent. Most locally grown varieties of peach trees require 750 to 1,000 “chill hours” — hours with the temperature below 45 degrees — to induce the trees to go dormant and then produce healthy blossoms.

And last winter, it just didn’t happen.

“We have never been so short,” Tom Beckman, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told a Macon TV station.  “Hardly any of the commercial material that’s out at growers’ orchards was designed to deal with chill this low. We’ve never seen trees this low on chill before. I haven’t, in my entire career, seen trees in some cases receive less than half the chill that they normally expect.”

And while the winter of 2016-17 was extreme, it unfortunately marks the continuation of a long-term,  multi-year trend of insufficient “chill hours” that have made it increasingly difficult for Georgia peach growers to make a living. The winter of 2015-16 was also too warm, as were earlier winters, and projections for the winter of 2017-18 again call for above-average temperatures throughout the region. Year by year, the zone in which peaches can be profitably grown in the Peach State continues to shrink, costing the state economy millions of dollars. In a couple of decades, it may not be viable at all.

What we’re seeing, right here at home and almost before our eyes, is a local example of the type of crop failures that scientists warn will become much more widespread as the planet continues to warm.

Meanwhile, up in Washington, President Trump may have decided that climate change is indeed a hoax created by China to destroy U.S. industry, just as he once claimed it to be. Despite pleas from international leaders and corporate executives, Fox News, Politico and other outlets report that he will soon withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, which was signed in 2015 by 195 nations.

If that happens, it will leave the United States as just one of three nations — the other two are Syria and Nicaragua — that refuse to join the accord and refuse to commit themselves to reducing carbon emissions.

Once again, “America First” would become “America Alone.” Once again, on a global challenge, we would abdicate not just global leadership but global participation. Once again, the political party now in control of every power lever in the U.S. government would turns its back not just on the rest of the world but on science as well.

For 40 years or more, scientists have been warning us that sharply increasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere would lead to planetary warming, and those warnings — unlike Georgia peach trees — have borne the expected fruit. Yet we still refuse to acknowledge it. And why?

Because political conservatives, fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions from oil, gas, coal and related industries, took a scientific issue that ought to be debated and decided on scientific terms, through a scientific process, and transformed it into an issue defined solely in terms of tribal loyalty.

If  tribal loyalty requires that they believe that climate change is a Chinese-created hoax, tribal loyalists will believe that. If it requires them to believe that scientists across the globe, in multiple disciplines, are participating in a secret conspiracy, tribal loyalists will believe that as well. It’s willful idiocy, and that’s a mighty hard wall to breach.

It’s gotten so bad that even many in the fossil-fuel industry are now aghast at the monster they helped to finance and inspire. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, has reportedly pushed President Trump hard to remain in the Paris accords, apparently without success. The current leadership of Exxon also takes that position, telling the Trump White House earlier this month that the agreement provides “an effective framework for addressing the risks of climate change.”

“We believe the United States is well-positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas, and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors,” the company told Trump.

But again, such appeals appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Issues that ought to be debated and decided in terms of right vs. wrong, true vs. false and good vs. bad have instead become mired in the struggle between left and right, with permanent global consequences.

 

Reader Comments 0

1891 comments
Liberty_
Liberty_

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CindyB.Medina
CindyB.Medina

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JayBook
JayBook moderator

If a president can't be prosecuted for such matters, why did Gerald Ford risk immense public condemnation by pardoning Nixon?


Also. Sheets.

td1234
td1234

@JayBook To uphold the power of the executive branch and to make sure its power was not tested. Why do you think Obama did not even consider wanting an investigation into Bush on waterboarding? Same reason. 

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@td1234 @JayBook  Not at all.  Ford was trying to get the nation to heal after the impeachment proceedings and Nixon's resignation.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 @JayBook 

Ford felt it would be bad for the nation for an ex-President to be indicted on Conspiracy charges (at the very least).

gotalife
gotalife

The gop just took their open treason under Obama a step further under trump.


We have a dem American patriotism party and a gop russian patriot party.


It is what it is.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 Any effort by the White House to suppress Comey’s testimony or bar him from handing over documents might end up in court. One precedent already looms large in Comey’s favor: Watergate. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled against President Richard Nixon and ordered him to turn over audiotapes and documents to then-special prosecutor Leon Jaworski.  The court held that not even the president can use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence that’s "demonstrably relevant in a criminal trial." Nixon resigned 16 days after the ruling.


https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-25/comey-s-tell-all-testimony-runs-risk-of-white-house-roadblocks

USMC2841
USMC2841

@StraightNoChaser @td1234 So you're saying the NSA has no right to seal the conversation between Jarrett and Bill.  Comey has claimed the meeting tainted the case against Hillary.

honested
honested

I guess I'm getting old.

In my youth, the republiklan party used to be about patriotism, love of country, education, research and development to maintain a strong competitive advantage....


Now they deal in treason and the lowest common denominator.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

"As long as he gets Trump, a know pathological liar, in a obstruction of justice charge "

What odds would you place on such a thing happening?

90%?

Philo sez <1%.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser And what is he going to say? 


Trump pressured me to end the Flynn investigation and I did not report it to my superior or the Senate but instead wrote it in a memo so that I could have a get out of jail card later. 


Now, why didn't the ethical man resign on the spot if he felt like the President was giving him a unethical order? 


Why didn't he report it to the DOJ or the chairman/ranking member of the Senate and/or House judiciary committees as the law requires?



honested
honested

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser 

You miss the basic question, "Why did the so-called-president attempt to impede the FBI director in pursuit of an entirely legitimate investigation"?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser As long as he gets Trump, a know pathological liar, in a obstruction of justice charge the majority of Americans really could care less what else happens after that fact.  Obstruction of Justice is an impeachable offense.  

HDB0329
HDB0329

@gotalife @StraightNoChaser ..he does that..one step closer to obstruction of justice. Nixon tried that...and the Supreme Court struck that down with a quickness.....

HDB0329
HDB0329

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser ....first rule: COVER YOUR @$$......second rule: don't forget the first!!


Coney made sure he had himself protected....I'd have done the same thing!!

td1234
td1234

@honested  1: He did not impede an investigation. 


2: The President could have ordered him to stop the investigation into Flynn and it would not have been a violation of the law. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

1-Yes he did.

2-What exempts any president from following the law?

3-Just because lush rimjob said it does not make it so.

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser What is the Obstruction? The President has the authority to have ordered the investigation into Flynn stopped. It is not obstruction. 

td1234
td1234

@HDB0329 @td1234 @StraightNoChaser Sounds like something Hoover would have done. 


Oops there is a law on the books, after Watergate, that tells Federal officials what they must do in a circumstance they feel political pressure. Why didn't Comey follow the law? 

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser There was a crime that was being investigated in with Nixon. This was a counterintelligence investigation with no known crime. Yuuge difference.

HDB0329
HDB0329

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser ...the conflict of interest that is generated by such an order because of the investigation of the National Security Adviser not only can lead into obstruction...but also a security breach.....


..as the CiC...he would also be subject to the Uniform Code of MILITARY Justice...and there are CRIMINAL issues coming from such a breach.....

HDB0329
HDB0329

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser ...and the discovery of criminal activities in a counterintelligence investigation can lead to criminal CHARGES being levied......

td1234
td1234

@honested Treason is not even being considered by the most rabid prog since it is spelled out in the Constitution. 

td1234
td1234

@HDB0329 Could but so could almost every investigation but then executives have prosecutorial discretion and end many of them before a "crime" is found.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @HDB0329 Not over a special prosecutor, he does not.  There is no executive privilege in a criminal investigation. Nixon tried and was ordered by the courts to obey and resigned ten days after that to keep from being impeached.  

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser @td1234 @HDB0329 This is NOT a special prosecutor. He is a special council that is investigating the matter. Any potential prosecutions would go to the DOJ and if they agreed then they would prosecute. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 @StraightNoChaser @HDB0329 They are the same thing, the only difference is that one is appointed by the President and the other is appointed by the Justice department.  The both have the power to hand down indictments after convening a grand jury. LOL