Climate Change Legislation Needs Closer Look
This summer, the U.S. House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, 219-212, and sent the document to the U.S. Senate. Bill sponsor Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, said his legislation was designed to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition the nation to a clean energy economy. These are certainly lofty and worthwhile goals.
To achieve these objectives, however, the legislation relies on substantial cuts to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions using a cap-and-trade system to reduce year 2020 emissions to 83 percent of 2005 levels.
Despite provisions that could help some niche sectors of the U.S. agricultural industry, the climate change bill will ultimately result in an annual multibillion-dollar loss for American farmers, as well as continued troubles for many other national industries.
After 2020, farmers and the entire agricultural industry stand to lose billions more as emission standards tighten further, while carbon offsets become even more scarce, and therefore, more expensive to acquire. This will certainly lead to increased prices for everyone at the grocery store.
It certainly gives me pause when a 1,400-page bill passes the U.S. House by only seven votes. Those numbers do not indicate a mandate, and it is hard to imagine how the ultimate implications of this document could be fully understood by the vast majority of elected officials.
Mandatory reductions in emissions will result in increased prices for fossil fuels, farm inputs and electricity. The reductions will also impact heavy industries like steel and cement. These are not discretionary products. They are the basics of doing business.
In short, Farm Bureau opposes H.R. 2454, unless significant changes are made, not only on behalf of the current generation of farmers and the state’s residents, but for our children and grandchildren. The consequences of legislation this important and complicated must be fully understood. More time is needed to make the appropriate adjustments before any more votes are taken.
In an effort to help our members become better informed on this important issue, Farm Bureau has developed the following talking points:
• The bill would result in increased costs to farmers, reducing net farm income by more than $5 billion annually by 2020.
• The bill creates an “energy deficit” for the U.S. by curtailing and reducing its use of fossil fuels without supplying any realistic alternative to make up the lost energy.
• The bill does nothing to require other countries, such as China and India, to undertake similar programs. If global warming is truly global, then all nations must work toward a solution.