Ohio State professor shares insight on climate change, impacts with local horticulturists

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - "The Earth has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century," said Dr. Dan Herms, professor of entomology at Ohio State University.

Because weather and climate impact horticulture, Professor Dan Herms from Ohio State University shared his findings on climate change this month at the Tri-State Green Industry Conference in Sharonville.

"We're seeing a lot of effects already, and these effects are just going to continue to become magnified as the Earth continues to warm. In Ohio, we're seeing winters have gotten warmer. Gardeners know that the hardiness zone for Ohio has already changed from zone 5 to zone 6. Insect populations are spreading northward in Ohio. Farmers are seeing more impacts, such as diseases," explained Dr. Herms.

Dr. Herms explained the findings of peer-reviewed literature discussing how CO2, not volcanic eruptions and solar variances, are affecting the climate. He invited the audience to review three questions.

"One: is the climate warming? Two: what is the cause of the warming? Three: if the climate is warming, what should we do about it? The first two questions are scientific, and in fact, the evidence is very definitive," said Dr. Herms.

Cincinnati State horticulture students were moved by Dr. Herms' speech.

Cora Phelps, a Cincinnati State horticulture student, said, "I knew that things were going up, but I didn't know how much was going into it and affecting everything."

"The pests, you know, moving out of their normal ranges, further north due to higher winter temperatures...that really spoke to me," Cameron Creech, another Cincinnati State horticulture student.

With the potential for 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit of warming in the next century, changing the pests we see and the crops we grow, Dr. Herms encourages those skeptical of climate change to take a second look at peer-reviewed literature.

"View that evidence not as a lawyer, not trying to make one case or the other case, but as a jury. Look at both sides, then come to your own conclusion," explained Dr. Herms.

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