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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Climate Change Greater Threat to U.S. Ag Than Climate Change Legislation

The Farm Bureau (along with John Thune!) says the American Clean Energy and Security Act will hurt U.S. agriculture.

What? Don't like climate change legislation? Try climate change. According to a new report from the Environmental Working Group, the costs of ACESA (and yes, there will be costs) will be far outweighed by the cost of taking no action on climate change. EWG says the Farm Bureau is crying wolf, ignoring the billions of dollars of losses and lower crop yields that unabated climate change can bring. (See, for instance, South Dakota state climatologist Dennis Todey on heavier rains, which could produce more erosion and less available topsoil moisture.)

EWG also notes that the Farm Bureau is hollering about meager production cost increases (ACESA might make soybeans cost 45 cents more per acre) that would be "lost in the background noise" of the usual, much larger fluctuations in farm input costs. Says EWG, "A fertilizer spreader or herbicide sprayer that is out of adjustment would cost farmers more."

The Farm Bureau is trying to take our eyes off the ball, trying to inflate one tiny non-issue into a reason to vote against a comprehensive energy policy that can help every sector of our economy enjoy more stable growth through the 21st century.


  1. "Climate Change Greater Threat to U.S. Ag Than Climate Change Legislation"

    that is, unless climate change has zero to do with CO2 emissions...in which case the disasters come anyway and you've accomplished nothing but costing everyone a great deal in money, security, and freedom.

    But no worries, the scientific debate is over

  2. How do we know that every single consequence of climate change, without exception, will harm us?

    Don't get me wrong, please. I do not advocate inaction or indifference. But I think we ought to keep our minds open in all directions, and not succub to propaganda.

    It wasn't so long ago (a few decades) that some scientists advocated sprinkling carbon granules on the ice caps to warm the planet, or damming the Bering Strait, or otherwise attempting to warm the earth, based on the notion that such a course of action would increase the proportion of land on which crops could be grown and human settlements could be built. Today that idea seems insane. But the laws of physics have not changed since that time. Our brain circuits are wired in exactly the same way as they were 50 years ago. Only the software has changed ... one wonders who did the programming, and why?

    I honestly believe that some radicals are using climate change as nothing more than an excuse to "feed the Beast" and impose their ideological agenda on the entire population -- and it's starting to make me mad.

    Increasingly, I am feeling a force pulling me toward the right, trying to polarize my mind to the right as the only defense against galloping government growth that threatens to "fundamentally transform" this country into something that the founders never intended, and in fact intended to avoid.

    I do not wish to be manipulated by either right-handed or left-handed screwballs, and to that end I'll keep trying to maintain an open mind. But I'm not sure open-minded voices are audible these days above the roar of the loons.

  3. Stan, there's a lot of uncertainty. I could say we can be as certain that everything about climate change will be bad as John Thune is that everything about the climate change legislation will be bad. Darned absolutists.

    Indeed, Canada could get warmer. Millions of refugees from Tuvalu, Bangladesh, etc. will have nice places to migrate.

    But even if there is uncertainty about the level to which our carbon emission reductions will change mitigate climate change, there are plenty of economic and security reasons to implement a comprehensive energy policy that sets a course for more energy independence and more usage of renewable sources. Even if the seas keep rising (more tidal power power available?) and the rains fall harder (more hydroelectric power?), we'll have a more diverse and robust energy system to provide for our increasing needs... and we'll be the tech leaders, not China.

  4. "we'll have a more diverse and robust energy system to provide for our increasing needs."

    No, we'll have an energy system that produces less carbon. That neither says it will be more diverse nor more robust. Since our infrastructure is already there for traditional sources it will be more expensive and less practical for a long time for ANY alternative transportation fuel even if we do allow the government to put the beat-down on coal & oil, and because of that we will end up exporting our industry and inflating the cost of living. All so the Greenies can have warm fuzzies.

    The actual energy policy should be about encouraging production. Once we have energy independence we can worry about where it comes from.

  5. No, not warm fuzzies: it's about making sure our future generations have more coal and oil available so they can take advantage of that infrastructure as well, if they need it. Plan ahead.


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