January 22, 2020

Climate Issues; Biofuels; Food Security; and Crop Insurance

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Issues: U.S. Officials at Copenhagen- EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

Washington Post writer Juliet Eilperin, who reported yesterday at the paper’s Post Carbon Blog from the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, indicated that, “The United States has been ‘fighting to make up for lost time’ in the fight against global warming since President Obama took office, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson said Wednesday.

“In the Obama administration’s keynote speech at the U.N.-sponsored climate talks here [transcript], Jackson said more progress has been made in the last 11 months than what ‘happened in the last eight years prior’ under former president George W. Bush.”

Ms. Eilperin indicated that, “But Jackson’s biggest applause line came when we said she was ‘proud’ of the EPA’s declaration Monday that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. ‘That is a decision that has been a long time coming,’ she said to a packed crowd in the U.S. Pavillion.”


Climate Issues; Animal Agriculture; and SNAP (Food Stamps)

Climate Issues: EPA Endangerment Finding

Jim Snyder reported yesterday at The Hill Online that, “The Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide represents a threat to human health starts a process that regulatory experts say will take years to resolve.

“Whether it becomes the ‘glorious mess’ that Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) predicted depends on factors like how much flexibility utilities and other emitters are given to meet the new standards and whether Congress eventually passes a cap-and-trade bill that would clear up some of the uncertainty surrounding the regulation.”


Climate Issues: EPA Finding, International Talks; Sens. Chambliss and Johanns; Crop Insurance; and Harvest Progress

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Issues: EPA Finding

Coral Davenport reported yesterday at that, “The EPA on Monday found that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threaten public health, a strategically timed action that is likely to resonate internationally as the world begins talks on a climate change treaty at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen.

The so-called endangerment finding triggers a requirement that the federal government regulate fossil fuel emissions under the Clean Air Act (PL 101-549) and puts new pressure on Congress to enact climate change legislation.

“‘The message to Congress is crystal clear: Get moving,’ said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the point-man in efforts to write a bipartisan Senate global warming bill.”


Climate Issues; and Crop Insurance

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Issues

Reuters writer Ross Colvin reported on Friday that, “U.S. President Barack Obama will attend the end of the Copenhagen climate change summit, a late change of plan the White House attributed on Friday to growing momentum toward a new global accord.”

The Reuters article indicated that, “The Obama administration has been encouraged by recent announcements by China and India, two other major carbon emitters, to set targets to rein in emissions and the growing consensus on raising cash to help poor nations cope with global warming, seen as a stumbling block to a new U.N. deal.

“Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen swiftly welcomed Obama’s decision, saying his attendance was ‘an expression of the growing political momentum toward sealing an ambitious climate deal in Copenhagen.’”


Climate Issues; Legislative Branch Ag Issues; Estate Taxes; and Crop Insurance

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Issues

Reuters news reported yesterday that, “The lion’s share of revenue earned by U.S. farmers for controlling greenhouse gases under a House-passed climate bill would be paid for growing trees, analysts told an Agriculture subcommittee on Thursday.

“‘The primary source of agricultural offsets would be carbon sequestration through afforestation of crop and pastureland,’ said Joe Glauber, Agriculture Department chief economist.

Some 85 percent of revenue from agricultural offsets from 2015-2050 would arise from creation of woodlands, said Glauber. The Congressional Budget Office estimated forestry would account for 90 percent of agricultural offsets in 2030.”


Climate Issues; Financial Reform; Trade; and the Ag Economy

Climate Issues

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday that, “Lawmakers divided largely along party lines Wednesday at a House hearing on agriculture and climate change while USDA’s chief economist tried to emphasize that, while climate legislation would increase costs to producers, those expenses would be gradual over several decades.”

The article noted that, “In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a preview of USDA’s updated analysis on the House climate bill. The study is comparable to data released by USDA in July, showing that there would be modest increases in expenses over time, but potential income from carbon offsets and bioenergy would outstrip the increased costs. Vilsack said farmers could gain as much as $20 billion in farm income from such sources.

“‘Our analysis finds that even with a conservative assumption, it’s a net gain for agriculture,’ Vilsack said.”

(Note: Sec. Vilsack’ comments from yesterday can be heard here (WMA), while an abbreviated excerpt regarding some specifics of USDA’s analysis from yesterday’s briefing is available here (MP3-4:25)).


Biofuels; Climate Issues; Crop Insurance; Trade; and Senate Ag Committee Hearing


Reuters writers Tom Doggett and Ayesha Rascoe reported yesterday that, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it needs more time to decide whether to approve an industry request to boost the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline, but signaled that it believes newer American cars could safely handle the higher fuel mix.

“The EPA was supposed to decide by Dec. 1 on a petition from Growth Energy filed on behalf of 54 ethanol producers to let gasoline contain up to 15 percent ethanol.”


Climate Issues and Agriculture; Trade; Biofuels; Crop Insurance; and Ag Communications

Climate Issues and Agriculture

In an opinion item published in Sunday’s Des Moines Register, Neil D. Hamilton, a Professor of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, noted in part that, “Next month, I travel to Copenhagen for the U.N. Climate Change Negotiations (COP 15) with two Drake agricultural law students. We are part of the Iowa U.N. Association delegation going to witness the international talks on possibly the most significant environmental, social and political issue shaping our futures.

My special interest is what the talks may mean for farmers in the United States and abroad. U.S. policy discussions show much of America’s agricultural sector doesn’t take climate change seriously.”


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