January 21, 2020

Climate Legislation; Trade; Crop Yields; and Animal Agriculture

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Legislation: What Does “Comprehensive” Mean?

And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.”
-Pres. Obama from Wednesday’s State of the Union Address.

Reuters writers Richard Cowan and Timothy Gardner reported yesterday that, “U.S. Senators are examining ways to fashion a climate control bill to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which might not include a cap-and-trade system, key senators said on Thursday.

“President Barack Obama called for a ‘comprehensive’ bill during Wednesday’s State of the Union address.

“In his speech, Obama did not specifically mention the need for a market-based emissions cap. Some interpreted the omission as signaling that he would not actively pursue wide-ranging climate control legislation this year.”


Climate Legislation; Trade; CFTC Issues; and Crop Insurance

Climate Legislation- Executive Branch Perspectives

An update posted yesterday afternoon at CQPolitics reported that, “Despite the obituaries being written for Senate passage of a cap-and-trade bill this year, President Obama is expected to reiterate his call for comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation and to rebrand it as part of his job-creation agenda.

“White House officials and senators leading efforts to write a bipartisan climate bill signaled Wednesday that they will keep pushing hard for legislation that would curb emissions of greenhouse gases and boost development of alternative energy.”


The Farm Bill, A Spending “Freeze,” and the Federal Debt; Jobs Agenda and Climate Change; and Crop Insurance

Farm Bill Issues

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is urging farmers to use hearings on the farm bill this year to take control of debate on farm policy reforms.

“Peterson, D-Minn., told members of the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates on Monday that so-called reformers ‘who don’t understand how this works … defined what reform is’ in the 2007-08 farm-bill debate. Peterson said there should be changes to the farm bill, but he was scathingly critical of one of the reformers’ biggest goals, limits on payments to big farmers. The campaign to lower payment limits ‘is not reform. It’s an ideology.’

“Reformers contend that Congress can decide what size farms should get farm payments, but ‘we are not smart enough in government to decide what farm size is,’ Peterson said. ‘I am for farming that is productive, efficient and economical,’ he said.”


Farm Bill; Federal Debt; Legislative Agenda- Climate Issues; Crop Insurance; Nutrition Programs; and USDA Nomination

Farm Bill

DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said he plans to begin hearings on the 2012 farm bill in March or April of this year and that he is determined to write a bipartisan bill that is within the funding baseline that exists in 2012.

“The funding baseline is the amount of money that the Congressional Budget Office determines would be spent on all programs in the farm bill if the same programs were to continue after 2012. CBO projects the funding levels based on spending in programs in past years.

Peterson said at least initially he expects each major farm bill section — the farm program, conservation and nutrition — to stay within its 2012 baseline.”


Climate Issues; Rural Economy; Nutrition Programs; Crop Insurance; Biofuels; Trade; and Political Notes

Climate Issues: Senate Perspectives

Jessica Leber and Christa Marshall of ClimateWire reported on Friday at The New York Times Online that, “Climate chaos reigned on Capitol Hill yesterday as senators battled over the possibility of U.S. EPA regulations on greenhouse gases and the prospects for global warming legislation this year.

Republicans and Democrats alike expressed interest in a ‘Plan B’ approach from Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) for capping emissions. The plan would return the majority of the revenue raised from a climate program to consumers through a dividend.”

(With respect to the Cantwell-Collins plan, Jonathan Capehart explained at the Post Partisan Blog (The Washington Post) on Friday that, “In short, [the Cantwell-Collins plan] would establish a cap-and-rebate system. A declining cap on greenhouse gas emissions would be set. Pollution permits would be auctioned to industry. And 75 percent of the proceeds would be rebated to the American people through monthly checks on an equal per capita basis. That could mean $1,000 returned to a family of four over the course of a year.”)


Climate Issues; and Crop Insurance

Categories: Climate Change

Climate Issues – Sen. Murkowski’s “Resolution of Disapproval”

An update posted yesterday at reported that, “Republican Lisa Murkowski says she has won the backing of ‘several’ Senate Democrats for a resolution that would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under clean air laws.

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., a moderate who faces an uphill fight for reelection in November, has already agreed to cosponsor the measure.”


Climate Issues; Federal Debt; Crop Insurance; and Dairy Issues

Climate Issues: Less Momentum for Cap and Trade?

Ben Geman reported yesterday at The Hill’s Energy and Environment Blog that, “Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is confirming that she probably won’t offer an amendment to debt ceiling legislation this week that would block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

“Murkowski has been mulling another path to thwart EPA: introducing a formal ‘resolution of disapproval’ under the rarely used Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to overturn agency rules.

“‘At this point in time, my inclination is to proceed with the resolution of disapproval. I think that that is a more clear path forward,’ she said at a GOP press conference Wednesday morning.”


Climate Issues; Federal Debt; Trade; and Food Safety

Climate Issues: EPA Regulation

Kim Murphy reported yesterday at the Greenspace Blog (Los Angeles Times) that, “[U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska)] staff says she is poised to act this week on a proposed amendment (download Murkowski’s amendment here) to bar the EPA in the coming year from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide. The Alaska senator’s staff says she will either introduce the amendment on Wednesday or take a different tack and on Thursday introduce a ‘disapproval resolution’ — essentially seeking to invoke a congressional veto of the EPA’s proposed finding that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threaten public health.

“The so-called endangerment finding, announced last April, is a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s attack on climate change.”

Ms. Murphy indicated that, “‘This isn’t about the science of climate change. The issue is, everyone agrees that EPA regulation of greenhouse gas stationary sources is going to be a bureaucratic nightmare, and really pose a serious threat to the economy,’ said Robert Dillon, communications director for the Senate energy and natural resources committee. ‘So why move forward with something that even the president has said is the worst possible solution to greenhouse gases?’”


Climate Change Issues; Biofuels; and Agricultural News

Climate Change Issues

Ben Geman reported yesterday at The Hill’s Energy and Environment Blog that, “An aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Monday that Murkowski has not yet decided whether to offer an amendment this week that would block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

“Senate leaders are allowing her a floor vote on climate change as part of the debate on debt ceiling legislation that the chamber takes up Wednesday, but it’s not clear if she’ll take the chance.

“Murkowski wants to prevent EPA from crafting rules that would limit emissions from stationary sources like power plants and factories. She alleges such rules would cause economic harm, but 60 votes is unlikely.”


Farm Bill Factors; Trade; Biofuels; and Climate Change

Farm Bill Factors: Deficit

DTN Editor-in-Chief Urban C. Lehner observed on Friday at the Editor’s Notebook Blog that, “Every five years or so Congress passes a new farm bill, and in the run-up to every farm-bill debate, pundits predict that this time the bill will slash farm-program payments. For the 2007 bill, they said the federal debt, which had grown by $5 trillion under President George W. Bush, would force Congress to cut.

“Instead, when the bill finally passed in 2008, Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer denounced it as ‘reckless spending.’ True, some programs were trimmed to fund increases in others, but overall, Congress moved money around between programs and years. President Bush vetoed the bill as a budget-buster. Congress overrode the veto.

Now we hear rumblings that with the debt expected to grow an additional $10 trillion through 2016, the 2012 bill will slash farm subsidies. The American Farm Bureau Federation heard this the other day from Charlie Stenholm, a former Texas Congressman who spent six years as ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee.”


Climate Change; Disaster Aid; Trade; Crop Insurance; Justice Dept. – Monsanto; and CFTC Developments

Climate Change

John M. Broder reported in today’s New York Times that, “Todd Stern, the chief American climate change negotiator, said Thursday that the flawed and incomplete agreement reached last month in Copenhagen could provide significant benefits if countries followed through on its provisions.

“The three-page Copenhagen Accord is not legally binding, and the 192 nations that took part in the December talks did not formally accept it. But a sizable group of those countries said they would accept its terms and provide plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by Jan. 31.”


Farm Bill; Climate Change; Sen. Blanche Lincoln; Biofuels; Ag Economy; and Food Safety

Farm Bill

Dan Morgan, a former Washington Post reporter and former Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who is now an independent writer specializing in agriculture and energy, has written a paper titled, “The Farm Bill and Beyond.”

A summary of the comprehensive paper, which was posted yesterday at the German Marshall Fund Online, indicated that, “More than a year after the U.S. Congress enacted a new multi-year farm bill (the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008), the politics of agriculture in Washington have been substantially reshuffled. Proposed climate change legislation has confronted the farm bloc with issues that received scant attention in the farm bill itself. At the same time, the congressional energy committees and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-not the traditional guardians of agriculture-have taken the lead in shaping climate and biofuels policies that could have long-term impacts on farmers. At the White House, President Obama has proposed cutting some key subsidies, and he has signaled interest in aligning himself-at least symbolically-with a grass roots movement that supports ‘sustainable agriculture’ and ‘healthy foods.’ These developments have moved long-standing tensions over agriculture policy to center stage.

This paper by agricultural commentator and former GMF Transatlantic Fellow Dan Morgan examines these tensions in the context of the 2008 farm bill, with a view to setting the stage for the next phase of the debate in the United States and Europe over climate, energy, farm subsidies, food safety, trade, and agricultural aid to farmers in developing countries.”


Climate Change Issues; Animal Agriculture; Crop Insurance; Energy Prices; and Crop Reports

Climate Change Issues

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “The largest U.S. farm group called on Congress on Tuesday to prevent the government from regulating greenhouse gases if lawmakers kill climate change legislation.

“The 6-million-member American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) also underlined its firm opposition to legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for boosting global temperatures.

In their first item of policy work, delegates at the AFBF annual meeting voted to support ‘any legislative action’ to suspend authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases under air pollution laws.”


Farm Bill; Trade Issues; Climate Developments; and Biofuels

Farm Bill

Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “A Texas Democrat who used to be a leader of fiscal conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives told big farm group on Monday that Congress members keen to cut federal spending will look at U.S. farm supports.

“‘All of us in agriculture recognize the fiscal challenge to come,’ said Charles Stenholm, a senior advisor at a Washington consulting firm who represented a west Texas district for 26 years. He spoke at a ‘break-out’ session at the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting.

“Stenholm, who is active in balanced-budget groups, declined to suggest specific areas to be targeted but said it could be hard to defend biofuel supports and grain subsidies. He said farm supports and crop insurance may need revisions to stretch funding.”


Climate Issues; Farm Bill; Sec. Vilsack’s Staff; and Biofuels

Climate Issues: Agricultural Concerns

Eric Roper reported on Friday at the Hot Dish Politics Blog (The Minneapolis Star Tribune) that, “Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson, who played a major role securing rural lawmakers’ support for cap-and-trade legislation this summer, said today he would vote ‘no’ if a similar bill returned to the House for final passage.

“The Agriculture Committee chairman said he was ‘stuck voting’ for the bill (which is now awaiting Senate action) in June because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi granted his requests for broad agriculture concessions, but won’t support it again if it remains unchanged.

“He made the comment during an appearance on a conservative talk radio show hosted by Scott Hennen in Fargo, N.D. [audio here].”


Biofuels; Climate Change Issues; EPA Developments; Animal Agriculture; and Political Notes


DTN writer Todd Neeley reported yesterday that, “Recent tough economic times have altered the landscape of the U.S. ethanol industry.

“Plants shut down, many filed bankruptcy, and opportunistic companies such as Valero Energy Corp. bought up plants and helped put a charge into a struggling industry in 2009.

However, sources in the ethanol industry believe the economy will continue to improve.”


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