SOIL CARBON AND CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
From Kansas State University's:
Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)
Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director
(785) 532-7217 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214 email@example.com
Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105 firstname.lastname@example.org
June 26, 2009
* Agriculture-friendly provisions added to Waxman-Markey climate change bill
Agriculture-friendly provisions added
to waxman-markey climate change bill
The June 25, 2009 issue of Soil Carbon and Climate Change News (No. 70) reported on the testimony of several agricultural organizations before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture about the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation (H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009). This legislation would establish a cap-and-trade system in the U.S. for greenhouse gases, and agricultural interests had many concerns about the content of the initial draft.
This testimony, and other input from agricultural interests, has had an effect. Some last minute negotiations between House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill is now nearing a vote in the full House, possibly today, June 26.
Briefly, the Waxman/Markey bill now provides for a stronger role by the USDA.
In the current version of the bill, the USDA will be assigned to oversee an agricultural and forestry offset program within the U.S. In the initial draft of the bill, the EPA was to have been given authority over the entire system of offsets within the U.S. In the revised version, the EPA still has authority over non-agricultural and international offsets. Having the USDA in charge of establishing agricultural offsets will likely mean that soil carbon sequestration and methane reduction projects will be significant players in the domestic offsets market. This means that two agencies, USDA and EPA, would be working together to establish and oversee the domestic offsets market.
In another change important to agriculture, the bill now restricts EPA’s authority to factor in indirect emissions from land-use changes when calculating the carbon content of biofuels.
The Waxman-Markey bill seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 through a cap-and-trade system beginning in 2012. It also mandates an increase in U.S. production of renewable energy.
If the full House passes the revised version of the Waxman-Markey bill, the bill will then be subject to hearings by one or more committees in the U.S. Senate, probably in July. As always, any climate change bill that might pass the Senate would then have to be renegotiated between both houses of Congress, and the final version passed by both the House and Senate.
So the final version of any climate change legislation which might be presented to President Obama for signing into law is far from certain at this time.
For a good discussion of the current status of climate change legislation, see the June 26 issue of Carbon Market North America at: http://www.pointcarbon.com/polopoly_fs/1.1147351!CMNA20090626.pdf
-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications
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