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Dennis Daugaard is a Climate Change Denier

Gov. Dennis Daugaard
South Dakota

"I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts. It's a complex world we live in."


What climate change means for South Dakota

  • There have been 11 disaster declarations in South Dakota since 2010 for events including fires, drought, severe storms and flooding.
  • While the average annual temperature increase in the United States is 1°F, in the Dakotas temperature increases have approached 5.5°F. Unusually warm and humid conditions in 2011 killed 1,700 head of cattle in South Dakota.
  • Climate change has increased temperatures across the Great Plains since the 1960s, particularly in the northern states. The hotter, drier conditions are already contributing to water resource stress, particularly in the southern portion of the region. In the coming decades, lack of water will constrain development, stress natural resources, and increase competition for water among communities, agriculture, energy production, and wildlife and natural ecosystems. In 2011, heat and drought contributed to agricultural losses across the Midwest and Great Plains, and the northern Great Plains dealt with significant flooding. Extreme events like floods and droughts are expected to become more common with climate change. Other agricultural impacts of rising temperatures include changes in insect pests and the northward shift of optimal zones for crops. As young adults move out of small, rural communities, the towns are increasingly populated by a vulnerable demographic of very old and very young people, placing them more at risk for health issues than urban communities. Serious health concerns are also associated with severe flooding, projected to increase in the future, including greater incidence of waterborne diseases. Water quantity and quality issues are expected to exacerbate existing economic and social issues for the 65 Native American tribes in the Great Plains, where populations on rural tribal lands have limited capacities to respond to climate change.