When I was in college in the early 1980s, I took a course in earth sciences (can’t place the name of the course.. environmental something) and I vaguely recall the professor talking about the finite limits to the earth's resources. Whether it was oil or some other resource, I remember being startled about the dire forecast, both for oil, and likely, my later adult life.

Here we are in 2014, still using oil and coal and still heating the atmosphere.

The third latest National Climate Assessment was issued by the federal government in early May. The report said there are “multiple lines of independent evidence” that confirm that human activities are the primary cause of the global warming of the past 50 years. Burning of coal, oil, and gas, and clearing of forests have boosted carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by more than 40% since the Industrial Revolution, according to the report. The U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895, and most of this increase has occurred since 1970.

Temperatures are projected to rise another 2°F to 4°F in most areas of the U.S. in the next few decades, and by 2100 temperatures could rise by 3°F to 5°F under a lower emissions scenario and as much as a 5°F to 10°F rise for a higher emissions scenario, according to the report.

The report also attempted to project the challenges that agriculture and other sectors face from climate disruption.

The Packer’s coverage of the story drew multiple reader comments. Some dismissed the report as B.S., others said “if we can’t trust our scientists, who can we trust?”

In view of the divergent reactions, I asked the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this question:

How concerned should U.S. fruit and vegetable growers be about the ongoing effects of climate change on their operations?

Extremely concerned



Not concerned - no such reality


Limited polling pretty evenly split so far. Where do you stand? Is it junk science, the most pressing issue of our time, or something in between? Count me a reluctant near-believer in the inconvenient truth.