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How the White House Is Selling Climate Change to Farmers

Among climate scientists, the debate over manmade climate change is more like a giant head-nodding session. Over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies that find it’s occurring and 97% of climate scientists who concur have a way of doing that.
Ask farmers, though, and it’s clear there’s doubt and outright rejection of manmade climate change. Ditto for a number of federal and state legislators.
”I am not concerned about the small amount of carbon dioxide (emitted by man) as having a dramatic impact that the climate change folks will argue about,” said Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to members of the North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) during a congressional briefing at NAAJ’s recent meeting in Washington, D.C. 

So how do you sell science?
That was on Brian Deese’s mind when he talked with NAAJ members. Deese is a senior White House adviser who advises President Barack Obama on climate, conservation, and energy policy.
“One thing that is clear is the most effective messengers are neighbors and friends who can speak clearly (to other farmers) about their own experiences,” he says.
He cites one example of a farmer who used an on-farm biodigester for managing manure.
“It made economic sense and was good for carbon dioxide mitigation,” he says. "It was a way to explain (to farmer neighbors) in tangible terms about how it helped the bottom line.” 
Deese cites the Risky Business study (
cochaired by its risk committee that includes a bipartisan group of federal legislators and industry chieftains. "The study translates what’s happening with climate change and the way it locally will affect people’s lives and livelihoods,” he says.
“Science-based arguments are winning and are increasingly being accepted by an increasing share of the American public,” says Deese. “That said, there is a well-funded and well-coordinated opposition, so we have to be aggressive and creative about how we get our message out.”
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