North Dakota’s agriculture industry is vulnerable to climate change
North Dakota’s climate is already changing. In the past century, most of the state has warmed by 2°F. Rainstorms are becoming more intense, and annual rainfall is increasing. In the future, North Dakota can expect increasingly hot summers, which can negatively impact yields for some crops while extending the growing seasons for others.
- Heat: Extreme heat will increase in the Great Plains region. Days where the maximum temperature exceeds 95°F in the Northern Plains are projected to double by mid-century. Rising temperatures, persistent drought and aquifer depletion could threaten the long-term sustainability of the great plains. Still, while the southern plains will see crop losses, North Dakota could see gains in crop yields according to a Risky Business report, though this will depend on a number of factors, including water availability.
- Adaptation: North Dakota has not developed a climate adaptation plan.
North Dakota residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 62% of North Dakota residents recognize that global warming is happening. The Project finds that 69% of residents support regulating CO2 as a pollutant and 83% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
North Dakota is a leader in wind development
- North Dakota set a renewable energy standard of 10% by 2015 which it met, producing 23.1% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015 (17.5% wind, 5.6% hydro).
- Wind power provided about 21% of North Dakota’s total net electricity generation in 2016. The state ranks 11th in installed wind capacity with 2,846 MW, enough to power 747,000 homes. Wind employs 4,000-5,000 people in South Dakota.
- North Dakota ranks 51th in solar, with just 220 kW installed and 120 people employed throughout the value chain.