Monday, June 22, 2009

House Agriculture Committee Chair Influencing Climate Bill

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) believes global warming will benefit farmers by increasing the growing season and allowing them to grow more corn. He also wants the climate bill changed to allow coal-burning power plants to get more free carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. The Center believes all the allowances should be allocated free [except for a 2% 'market marker' amount].

Mr. Peterson opposes a measure in the legislation that could undercut the perceived climate-protection value of growing corn to make ethanol in the U.S. by counting the increased greenhouse gas emissions that would occur overseas when farmers or governments clear land to grow food in response to higher food prices. Mr. Peterson is pushing an amendment to the climate bill that would eliminate a requirement under the law for the EPA to measure such overseas emissions.

He wants the Agriculture Department, rather than the EPA, to decide what kinds of agricultural practices will qualify as "offsets," activities that avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation would allow businesses to pay farmers to engage in activities like injecting the soil with seed rather than plowing the ground and causing the release of carbon. The Energy Information Administration has estimated that the market for such agricultural activities could be worth as much as $24 billion annually. A recent EPA analysis suggested the market could be much smaller. (WSJ, 6/22/09, Photo: Getty Image)

House Agriculture Committee:

Compilation of Responses to Climate Change Questionnaire - Part 1 of 2 (110MB .pdf file)

Compilation of Responses to Climate Change Questionnaire - Part 2 of 2 (110MB .pdf file)

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