Tag Archives: climate change

New Nebraska Extension Program: Weather Ready Farms

The Weather Ready Farms designation program is an agricultural education program aimed at offering farmers new strategies and technologies to prepare for extreme weather events and climate variation.

About the Program

Farmers that participate in the two-year program learn about conservation, natural resource management, improving soil health, disaster preparedness, farm financial management, climate-smart agriculture, and more. Throughout the designation program, participants attend face-to-face and online educational events delivered by Nebraska Extension and our educational partners.

After participants learn new weather-ready agriculture techniques, participants will work with their project mentors to implement these strategies on their farm. Once participants have completed their education and finished their on-farm projects, they will go through the Weather Ready Farms verification process to gain designation status as a Weather Ready Farm. If you are interested in participating in the Weather Ready Farms program, contact Nathan Mueller at nathan.mueller@unl.edu.

Sign up for the Weather Ready Farms newsletter.

Related Reading

Also of Potential Interest

UPCOMING NEBRASKA EXTENSION WORKSHOPS

Solar Electric for Farms, Homes, and BusinessesSponsored by Nebraska Public
Power District, Omaha Public Power District, and Lincoln Electric System

This workshop is for homeowners, farmers, and business owners who are interested in exploring solar PV systems. The workshop will review the function, feasibility, and economic return of solar electric systems for farms, homes, and businesses. 

Each solar installation is unique, and individuals have their own reasons for exploring solar installations.  This workshop will help you decide if solar is right for you, by learning about how systems work, safety, the value of electricity, value of incentives, and how to evaluate quotes from installers. The workshop speaker will be Nebraska Extension Educator, F. John Hay, who has 10 years’ experience doing solar economic analysis and installed solar at his home in 2017. QuestionsJhay2@unl.edu

See Flyer for dates and more information.

Registration: https://go.unl.edu/solarworkshops2022

Cost: $10

Vilsack: America’s voluntary approach to agriculture is better than Europe’s mandates

By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch

BOONE, Iowa — The more than $1 billion the federal government is devoting to voluntary efforts to reduce agriculture’s adverse effects on the environment is a better long-term strategy than mandating new rules for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

While state and federal officials in the United States have tended to avoid implementing rules that might force farmers to radically change their long-held practices, the European Union has specific requirements about crop rotations, permanent pastures and the use of buffer strips and other conservation practices that improve soil quality. Continue reading here.

Also written by Jared Strong: USDA plans ‘historic’ funding to help struggling farmers and develop new ag leaders, Iowa Capital Dispatch

FROM THE NEBRASKA EXAMINER 

MORE ON HIGH-SPEED-INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE 

Treasury Announces Five Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet

Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Arkansas are approved to receive approximately $408 million under the American Rescue Plan and will connect more than 90,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT BENEFITS EVERYONE

Republicans voted ‘no’ on the climate bill. Their states will get billions of dollars from it anyway, by Ella Nilsen, CNN

More than $370 billion of the law will go to tax credits for
 clean electricity, vehicles and energy efficient appliances. And that money will trickle down to Democrat- and Republican-controlled states alike, said Bob Keefe, executive director of nonpartisan clean energy group E2. “It’s going to be harder for red states to say clean energy jobs are bogus and that it’s something for California when it’s something that’s happening in their backyards,” Keefe told CNN.

The law goes far beyond financing for solar and wind energy. There’s also money for hydrogen fuel and funds to incentivize power plants to capture their planet-warming emissions before they hit the air. It also contains billions of dollars to fund a new program that will crack down on the fossil fuel industry’s methane emissions — a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists say must be controlled.

FROM FARM PROGRESS

Project looks to measure carbon absorption, emissions daily: Study examines how grazing livestock influences carbon, water and biodiversity.

Climate change has brought much scrutiny on the beef industry. But is it justified? Scientists have been studying grazing management and its impact on ecological function, and “there is evidence to suggest, if it’s well managed, cattle can be very edifying to land and improve its function versus deteriorating or extracting,” says Jason Rowntree, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture in the Michigan State University Department of Animal Science. “But the science is pretty isolated in terms of geography.”

Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 24 States Set to Begin Plugging Over 10,000 Orphaned Wells

U.S. Department of the Interior News Release, August 25, 2022

Nebraska has 225 wells identified for plugging and remediation in this initial phase.

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced it has awarded an initial $560 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 24 states to begin work to plug, cap and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells. Millions of Americans across the country live within a mile of an orphaned oil and gas well. Eligible states have indicated that there are over 10,000 high-priority well sites across the country ready for immediate remediation efforts, with many more lined up for future action.

Orphaned oil and gas wells are polluting backyards, recreation areas, and community spaces across the country. Methane leaking from many of these unplugged wells is a serious safety hazard and is a significant cause of climate change, being more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. The historic investments to clean up these hazardous sites will create good-paying union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce harmful methane leaks. Continue reading here.

See Also: Biden Administration Announces $1.15 Billion for States to Create Jobs Cleaning Up Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells

SHUTOFFS & THE RISING COST OF NATURAL GAS

A ‘Tsunami of Shutoffs’: 20 Million US Homes Are Behind on Energy Bills, Bloomberg Equality
US electricity prices surging and more people than ever are struggling to pay the power company. More than 20 million American households have fallen behind on their utility bills, about 1 of every 6 homes, and the amount they owe has doubled since before the pandemic. The basic problem is that electricity is more expensive, up 15% from a year ago, and there’s no sign of relief. That’s because power prices are linked to the cost of natural gas, which has more than doubled in the past year and is expected to remain high at least into next year. 

Energy Assistance Programs: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency-Nebraska

DOE WEBINARS FOR CLEAN ENERGY JOB SEEKERS

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a new graduate, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) wants you to join their team of Clean Energy Champions!

Upcoming Webinars 

Careers in Sustainable Transportation
September 8, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Careers in Renewable Power
September 15, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Careers in Energy Efficiency
September 22, 12 – 2 p.m.

Careers in EERE Business Operations
September. 29, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Source: Are You a Clean Energy Champion?, Department of Energy 

RECENT NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE WEBINAR

The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference recently held a virtual webinar titled, “What Do Regional Transmission Organizations Do?” with Casey Cathey, Director of System Planning at Southwest Power Pool. The recordings of the webinar can be found here

URBAN FORESTRY FUNDING IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT

Towns May Grow Millions More Trees with $1.5B for Urban Forestry, The PEW Charitable Trusts
States and cities across the country are beginning to embrace trees as critical infrastructure in urban areas. Neighborhoods with tree cover are significantly cooler than exposed areas known as “heat islands,” which can affect human health and utility bills. Urban forests absorb stormwater runoff, filter pollution from the air and sequester carbon.

Funding for study a rare bright spot in Nebraska’s statewide climate change efforts

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Kat Woerner has learned not to use the words “climate change” when talking about climate change with some Nebraska politicians. The 22-year-old environmental advocate said the words have a stigma that causes many conservative lawmakers to shut down as soon as they hear them.

These roadblocks have been on display in the Nebraska Legislature, which has made little to no progress in approving climate change legislation in recent years, despite pleas from scientists and advocates. A rare exception came earlier this year when lawmakers appropriated up to $150,000 in federal funding for an update to a statewide climate change report. Continue reading here.

Also Of Potential Interest 

U.S. State Climate Action Plans, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
34 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one.

National Climate Task Force: Take Climate Action in Your Community, The White House

What Comes Next: Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Authority to Regulate Carbon, Highlighting Need for Swift Congressional Action on Reconciliation Bill to Meet Climate Goals

By Gene Grace, General Counsel, American Clean Power Association

If this nation is serious about addressing climate change before it is too late, the climate and clean energy tax provisions pending in the reconciliation package being negotiated on Capitol Hill will significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions. If passed, the package would cut emissions in half by 2030 while achieving real energy independence, supporting good jobs, and lowering energy costs for consumers. We are running out of options and time. Congress cannot afford to let this once-in-a-generation opportunity slip by. Read more here.

Public Health Benefits of Not Slowing Down America’s Clean Energy Transition

Using U.S. Energy Information Agency data for carbon emissions from coal-generated electricity in the U.S., I have calculated that 200,000 lives will be lost for each year the U.S. continues to use coal instead of a non-carbon dioxide emitting alternative to generate electricity. As an intensive care doctor, I may spend weeks focused on saving a single life. The opportunity to save 200,000 lives each year is so incredibly precious; it would be like preventing all deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and influenza in the U.S. for an entire year. The Supreme Court could have made a tremendously positive impact on human health, but in this case, the majority did the opposite. 

Matthew J. Meyer is a critical care anesthesiologist and sustainable health care researcher and advocate. He is a steering-committee member of Virginia Clinicians for CIimate Action, co-chair of the UVA Health Sustainability Committee, CEO of PeriOp Green (a health tech company focused on eliminating unnecessary waste in the operating room) and assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Virginia. He holds an M.D. from the University of Vermont.

WASHINGTON — With a large majority of Americans concerned about climate change and an increasing number expressing alarm and distress, it is past time to address this burgeoning public health crisis at the individual, community and societal levels, according to a report from the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health, and ecoAmerica.

Download the report: Mental Health And Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Inequities, Responses, 2021 Edition

Featured Climate Stories Hub

The Thomson Reuters Foundation maintains the website portal: “Communicating climate change”Contributed articles include:

Additional Recommended Reading

The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Countries (and What They’re Doing Right), Newsweek
The top spots in most of these rankings, which are produced by academic centers, think tanks and other institutions, tend to be taken by European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Luxembourg, Finland and Austria.

Ribbon cutting scheduled for Norfolk Community Solar

Nebraska Public Power District News Release

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and the City of Norfolk will be celebrating the completion of the state’s largest solar facility with a ribbon cutting, June 22. The public is welcome to attend the ribbon cutting for the Norfolk Community Solar facility, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. The ribbon cutting will take place at the solar facility on South 49th Street on the west side of Norfolk, and will include representatives from NPPD, the City of Norfolk, N Solar, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), and the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET). Continue reading here.

More Nebraska News

IPCC Outlines Opportunities For Action In Rural Communities To Address Climate Change

By Nick Summers, Center for Rural Affairs

A recent report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reaffirms the importance of climate action in rural communities, calling on those communities to adapt to and mitigate climate impacts to preserve their own prosperity and protect food and energy security globally. The report takes a comprehensive look at the specific vulnerabilities of systems and communities and identifies pathways for adaptation and mitigation. Continue reading here.

Related Blog Posts

More CFRA Resources

Initiatives Shaping Workforce To Better Serve Customers As We ‘Power The Future’

OPPD News Release, May 19, 2022

Omaha Public Power District is working to develop our strategic vision of Powering the Future to 2050, with a number of strategic initiatives helping to lay the path forward. During their monthly board meeting this evening, the OPPD Board of Directors received an update on two of them – Workplace Transformation and Technology Platform.

These and other initiatives underway take into account dynamic trends and issues that continue to shape the future of the electricity industry, including carbon emissions and climate change, emerging sources of competition, the future role of electricity markets, smart technology, evolving customer desires and more.

This week, OPPD management provided directors with an update on the utility’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar and natural gas generation. The increased generation capacity will help maintain long-term reliability and resiliency of the system.

Board members are considering making revisions to Strategic Directive 11: Economic Development. A redlined document is available for public viewing at OPPDCommunityConnect.com. We welcome feedback on the proposed changes. Comments will be accepted through June 12. The board will consider all input received prior to voting on any amendments, which they expect to do at their next regular monthly meeting on June 16.

Read the entire news release here.

ATTENTION: LES & NPPD CUSTOMERS

 

Lincoln Electric System Webinar, May 26, 12-1 pm:  Shedding the light on solar

 

 

NPPD surveying residential customers: The 2022 Residential Appliance Survey will be sent out May 24

 

Ducheneaux hopes for 27 million CRP acres, praises White House initiative

The Hagstrom Report, The Fence Post

Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, told The Hagstrom Report today, May 3, that he still hopes the Conservation Reserve Program will grow to 27 million acres by 2023, the maximum allowed by Congress under the 2018 farm bill, even though the current statistics on the program make that goal look difficult. The issue is important because the Biden administration has said that land in the CRP sequesters carbon, helping American agriculture contribute to efforts to mitigate climate change.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA has accepted 2 million acres into the CRP program, but he also noted that producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of the 3.4 million acres expiring this year and offered only 400,000 acres of new land, compared with 700,000 new acres last year. Read more here.

The Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup deadline is May 13, 2022.

Questions? Email Zach Ducheneaux: zachducheneaux@usda.gov or call (202) 941-4675.

USDA News Release, May 3, 2022: USDA Accepts 2 Million Acres in Offers Through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Students ask Nebraska lawmakers to acknowledge climate crisis

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

Lincoln student Alex Hamric pleaded with Nebraska lawmakers to, at a minimum, recognize the impacts of climate change, but the 14-year-old was doubtful that his words would hold any weight. 

Hamric was one of five individuals who, during a hearing Wednesday, advocated for the Natural Resources Committee to advance a resolution (LR102) for the Legislature to acknowledge that the world is in a “climate and ecological crisis” that was caused by humans and that lawmakers have a “moral obligation” to take steps to mitigate the crisis. Continue reading here.

Photo by Herschel Talley / Nebraska National Guard: Flooded Camp Ashland as seen in this aerial photo taken in Ashland, Nebraska on March 17, 2019.

Referenced in the Article

Nebraskans for Solar Note
Kudos to the Prairie Hill Learning Center students who drafted LR102; to their teacher, Jordan Hope, who fostered her students’ desire to go beyond a class project to write the draft resolution; to Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln who introduced it in 2021; to everyone who advocated for it through written testimony and / or in-person at the recent Natural Resources Committee hearing, including Lincoln students Alex Hamric and his twin, Willa Hamric; and, finally, to Senator John Cavanaugh for your thoughtful acknowledgement of the students’ work expressed through your informed questions.

U.S. State Climate Action Plans, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
34 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one. This includes 28 states that have released plans, four states that are updating their plans, and two states that are developing a plan.