The liberal-leaning Center for American Progress has published a column titled “Rural America Would Win Big with Senate Climate Action.” Jake Caldwell argues that the pending climate change bill could raise farm incomes while doing nothing “places the fate of U.S. agriculture in a byzantine administrative process of federal regulation led by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act.” Also, Caldwell writes, there are clear benefits to farmers in the House version of the bill.
Caldwell lists the “gains for rural America secured in the House bill…” There include exemptions for ag and forestry from cap and trade, he writes, and incentives for farmers to use their lands as a “carbon sink,” where carbon emissions can be captured. Farmers can “earn real money selling carbon offsets” through tree planting, modest tillage practices and winer cover cropping — stuff that many farmers already do.
Caldwell also notes that the bills encourage biofuels and wind energy production. He does not address the damage done by the construction of thousands of miles of transmission lines needed to transfer wind power from the farm to the city. Nor does he mention the disadvantage coal-based power plants in the middle of the U.S. will have under the new act. But this is interesting reading at a time when the Senate Ag committee is now taking up the climate change bill.