Angie Pointer reported today at Barron’s Online that, “Trying to decipher the impact of U.S. climate-change legislation on the agriculture sector is like staring into a cloudy crystal ball.
“As a weather phenomenon, climate change affects when or where crops are grown. As a political force, it may have even more transformative power. ‘Climate-change legislation has the potential to change the paradigm of the business,’ says Neal McAliley, a law partner at White & Case.
“How strong that force will be remains to be seen. The House of Representatives already passed a climate-change bill; the Senate gets to work later this month. Both versions establish a ‘cap-and-trade’ regime that sets a limit, or ‘cap,’ for greenhouse-gas emissions and applies it to certain industries, such as electricity-generation. The ‘trade’ aspect allows a company exceeding its cap to buy allowances from a firm that is under its cap, or to ‘offset credits’ from another source. Neither sets agricultural production as a capped entity, so emissions from farms or feedlots wouldn’t be affected.”