Kansas Lawmaker Claims Coal Plants Are Good For Crops

Kansas Lawmaker Claims Coal Plants Are Good For Crops
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Desperate times, call for desperate arguments.

In a last ditch bid to build two new coal plants in Kansas, Larry Powell (R- Garden City) is making the argument that the new coal plants would be in fact good for local crops.

It’s worth mentioning that Garden City, Kansas is also home to a new organization called “Kansans for Affordable Energy.”

The KAE recently ran outrageous print ads claiming that Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladamir Putin are smiling because the Kansas state government rejected the new coal plants and would now have to rely on Iran, Russia and Venezuela for natural gas imports.

The KAE failed to mention that Kansas does not currently import any natural gas from these countries and in fact receives well over three-quarters of its gas from Canada.

The KAE also failed to mention that coal giant Peabody Coal and the local coal-fired electrical company that lost the bid to build the two new coal plants picked up most of the tab for the advertisements.  

Rep. Powell said a recent study shows that over the next 50 years, “atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent.”

To prove his point, Powell points to a report written by longtime climate cranks Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change.

The Idso’s are not well known for their science, as much as they’re known for their willingness to issue “reports” for coal industry associations like the Western Fuel Association. The Fuels Association paid  the Idsos $250,000 to produce a video, “The Greening of Planet Earth,” which argued global warming could be good by extending the growing season.

The Idso’s Center has also received grants from oil-giant ExxonMobil in the past. 

I don’t know exactly which report on the benefits of CO2 on plants Rep. Powell is referring to, there are numerous on the Idso’s site.

However, one would think that when elected representatives are looking for scientific research they would look to peer-reviewed scientific journals, the experts in the field, instead of relying on reports they find on websites.

As for the claim that C02 is good for us Jerry Glover, a soil scientist with the Salina-based Land Institute, said Powell is mistaken by thinking increased C02 in the atmosphere will help agriculture.

“At this point, no one knows all the details of the impact of global warming on agriculture, but it’s stacking up increasingly that it is not going to be entirely positive,” Glover said.

Glover said crops need more than C02 to survive. Global warming will increase temperatures in some regions, which means crops will need more water.

And climate change will disrupt distribution of water in unpredictable ways, which will decrease yields.

Kansas Lawmaker Claims Coal Plants Are Good For Crops

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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