In just a short while President Obama will be taking to the stage for his State of the Union address, and many who have suffered severely from the consequences of drought, storms, and other extreme climate events have one thing on their minds: will Obama say the "C" word?
In this video, one farmer from Oklahoma, Clay Pope, challenges the president to address the growing problem of climate change. He explains how Oklahoma farmers have been paralyzed in some parts of the state as extreme drought enters its fourth year. In 2011, Gov. Mary Fallin asked all Oklahomans to "pray for rain." Sadly, since then conditions have become far worse (see the drought chart).
Clay says that it's a good thing the Obama administration has woken up to the need for better disaster prepardeness, but that's not enough. We need "disaster prevention" and the only way to prevent the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like drought, flooding, and superstorms is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere — the primary driver of a warming planet. I'll let him do the talking ...
ECOpass purchases pay Oklahoma farmers and ranchers a ($5) per acre payment for implementing conservation practices on their land. Qualifying practices include conversion to no-till cropping, conversion of marginal cropland to grass, improved range management, forestry management, and creation of riparian buffer zones. All of these practices sequester, or store, a measurable amount of carbon in the soil that would otherwise have been emitted into the atmosphere. On average, these practices prevent the emission of half a metric ton of carbon per acre per year. By comparison, the average American emits 20 metric tons of carbon per year.