The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Scientists Request Meeting with American Farm Bureau President to Discuss Group's 'Inaccurate' Stance on Climate Change


More than 40 scientists with expertise in climate, agriculture, soil, and entomological science today sent a letter
to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman requesting a
meeting to discuss his group's "inaccurate and marginalized" position
on global warming.

The Farm Bureau maintains that "there is no generally agreed upon
scientific assessment on...carbon emissions from human activities,
their impact on past decades of warming, or how they will affect future
climate changes." According to the scientists' letter, that assertion
ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, a
problem that puts Farm Bureau members at risk.

"As scientists concerned about the grave risks that climate change
poses to the world and U.S. agriculture," the letter states, "we are
disappointed that the American Farm Bureau has chosen to officially
deny the existence of human-caused climate change when the evidence of
it has never been clearer."

The letter then points out the fact that scientific institutions
worldwide have concluded that human activity is causing global warming.
For example, 18 U.S. science organizations, including the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological
Society and the Crop Sciences Society of America, recently issued a
statement declaring that "human activities are the primary driver" of
climate change and "contrary assertions are inconsistent with an
objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science."

The letter also stresses the threat that global warming poses to
agriculture. It cites a 2009 federal report that found any agricultural
benefits of climate change would be more than offset by the drawbacks,
including more frequent heat waves that would reduce crop yields and
stress livestock, more extreme rainfall that would prevent spring
planting and flood fields, and more widespread pest and weed
infestations that would require costly pesticides and herbicides to
keep them in check.

The scientists' letter stands in stark contrast to the opinions of
climate change denier Christopher Horner, who will be the only
scheduled speaker addressing climate at the annual American Farm Bureau
meeting later this week in Seattle. Horner is an attorney with the
Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded, anti-regulation
think tank that has received millions of dollars over the last decade
from the auto and oil companies, most notably ExxonMobil, to try to
block federal action on climate change.

"This letter is a wake up call to the American Farm Bureau of the
importance for them to take the concerns about climate change
seriously," said Don Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and one of the letter's three
co-sponsoring signatories. "We think it's important to share our
knowledge directly with Mr. Stallman and hope he agrees to meet with

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.