Addressing Humaninduced Contributions To Climate Change

Based on energy consumption data from the Energy Information Administration, released in 2007, Nebraska's total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in million metric tons for 2004 were 42.85, made up of contributions by source: commercial, 1.83; industrial, 6.01; residential, 2.44; transportation, 12.18; and electric power, 20.39.

Nebraska remains innovative in conservation practices. On April 10, 2000, the state became the first to enact legislation linking agricultural policy with greenhouse gas reduction. While agriculture is not a high contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it has the potential to mitigate climate change. By forming a Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee, made up of advisors from public and private sources in agriculture, industry, energy, and government and authorizing funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, legislators ensured a quality, detailed assessment and recommendations. The benefits to Nebraska would be promoting the continuation and improvement of soil conservation programs, as well as an economics policy on the national or global carbon markets. The major problems with implementing pilot programs are initial and ongoing funding as well as the need for single-source oversight from CSAC or a similar lead organization.

The University of Nebraska is home to the Applied Climate Sciences (ACS) program for researching climate impacts in the Great Plains region. Because the area is sustained by agriculture, the university began an agricultural meteorology program in the 1960s. The program continues today within the university's School of Natural Resources. In addition, Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska newspaper editor, began the

Arbor Day Foundation, located in Nebraska City, in the 1870s. His vision was to help beautify the state, provide shade, and prevent soil erosion. The nonprofit foundation continues today with a mission to create a world where trees and forests are abundant, healthy, and sustainable. To meet this goal, the Arbor Day Foundation helps protect the global environment by promoting rain forest preservation, urban and community forestry, and tree planting throughout the world. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, thus, the more trees are planted, the more carbon dioxide can be absorbed. Planting shade trees near a home can also reduce annual heating and cooling costs.

SEE ALSO: Agriculture; Floods; University of Nebraska.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Mark Bowen, Thin Ice Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains (Henry Holt and Co., 2005); A.N. Garwood, Weather America: Latest Detailed Climatological Data for Over 4,000 Places and Rankings (Toucan Valley Publications, 1996); Pew Center for Global Climate Change, "State and Local Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Programs: Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture," (cited November 2007).

Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar

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