A Pew Research Center survey found that 58% of Americans believe the federal government is not doing enough to address climate change.
Ed Wilkinson frowned as he plucked a dull brown husk from a corn stalk.
“You don’t have an ear here, a tiny nothing, you couldn’t grow anything here, no ear here,” he said, pointing the stem away.
Wilkinson has been a farmer all his life, including 45 years at Getty Acres, a 4,000-acre farm near Gettysburg. The farm grows corn, wheat, soybeans and sorghum. Part is sold and part is used to feed the 600 oxen on the farm.
The spring was almost too wet, Wilkinson said. But the humidity dried up just when the plants needed it to grow, with almost no rain from July to September.
“It took what we thought was a good year into what wasn’t such a good year,” Wilkinson said. “What there is is of good quality, but there isn’t that much.”
The losses mean that the farm may not even break even for the year’s crop. Wilkinson said he worries about how he will survive more drought years, which are already more frequent due to global climate change.
“It’s almost like riding a roller coaster. You get a good year and you try to stock up on store and stuff for a year when you don’t get it. But multiple years, you can’t handle multiple years in a row,” he said. “If the climate changes enough where we can’t produce, then yes, I wonder where everyone is going to eat.”
Wilkinson adapted with methods like no-till farming, which retains more water in the soil. He said he wanted to see investment in new agricultural technologies. He is reluctant to switch to electric vehicles, but is open to building greener energy infrastructure if feasible.
“Hopefully with them, by improving the traits and things in crops, in corn and soybeans, drought resistant corn, we can overcome these dry spells and still have a crop for livestock” , did he declare.
Climate change and energy policy are two sides of a central issue for the upcoming elections in Pennsylvania.
Here’s what state and federal candidates say they will do to curb rising energy costs and reduce carbon emissions:
At the state level, Pennsylvania is the nation’s third-largest net energy supplier, thanks in part to the Marcellus Shale, a huge natural gas field that covers two-thirds of the state.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is a strong supporter of hydraulic fracturing to harvest this natural gas.
“It’s time we unlocked Pennsylvania’s energy potential. It would benefit every person in the state,” Mastriano said in a campaign announcement. “So now is the time to roll back the regulations, open up the lands and develop these resources without being infringed by so many Harrisburg surcharges and fees. As governor, I will strive to make us the number one energy producer in the country and number two, to do this we will roll back the regulations.
Mastriano has called global warming “fake science” and makes no mention of climate issues on his campaign site.
In contrast, Democrat Josh Shapiro wants to increase the state’s share of renewable energy from 4% to 30% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He says he will do so while keeping current jobs in fossil fuels but also by building green energy infrastructure. , including tenders for some of the eight hydrogen hubs planned across the country.
Learn more about hydrogen energy here.
“I think these hydrogen centers — and we should have two here in Pennsylvania — will probably be a game-changer for the next two or three decades,” Shapiro said in an interview with FOX43’s Harri Leigh. “I think we can create thousands of green energy jobs, protect the ones we have today, and also do some really good things for our planet.”
At least initially, hydrogen would be produced from natural gas, which would actually increase the production of natural gas.
At the federal level, the law on reducing inflation passed in August invests heavily in the production of domestic energy, in particular green energy. Yet a Pew Research Center survey found that 58% of all Americans believe the federal government is not doing enough to address climate change.
Democrat John Fetterman praised the Cut Inflation Act, while Republican Mehmet Oz said he would not have voted for it.
Both Senate candidates have taken shifting positions on fracking. Fetterman said in a 2018 interview that he doesn’t support fracking “at all.” He reversed that position during the Senate debate on Oct. 25.
“I absolutely support fracking,” Fetterman said. “I believe we need independence with energy, and I believe I’ve walked that line all my career.”
Republican Mehmet Oz, meanwhile, wrote a column in 2014 calling for a ban on fracking pending more research. He, too, denied his earlier position during the Senate debate.
“I’ve been very consistent,” Oz said. “Fracting — it’s a very old technology — has been shown to be safe. It is a lifeline for this Commonwealth to be able to create wealth, like what they have been able to achieve in other states. For this reason, I strongly support hydraulic fracturing, drilling, piping of this natural gas. In fact, I would build a factory of it in Philadelphia so we could export it.
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