Vilsack on Climate Change Part 2

Vilsack on Climate Change Part 2

Vilsack on Climate Change Part 2. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters on Monday to discuss the Climate Change legislation.

VILSACK: I think it’s important for those who are concerned about the rural economy to recognize that with energy, with the offset markets, with the work we are doing to link local producers to local consumers and the broadband initiative from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, what we have is the foundation for I think a much stronger and more sustained rural economy than we’ve seen in some time.

Fortunately Vilsack sees that this is not a perfect answer and that there are a few warts.

VILSACK: We also recognize that there are some negative impacts from climate change that will directly impact agriculture which we are trying to mitigate with this effort. We are seeing in some parts of the country heavier rainfalls and more flooding, in other parts we are seeing drier periods, more severe heat waves, increased weed growth and increased insect population. All of those negative we think can be mitigated in part by an aggressive effort by the United States to address climate change.

One question asked was one I’ve heard by a lot of people…how can we talk global warming when we have had some of the coolest weather in recent months.

VILSACK: I think you have to take a longer view than a one year look. If you take a look at the last decade or the last century in America what you’re going to find is that it’s among the hottest if not the hottest decade in quite some time and certainly the hottest decade we’ve seen in quite a period of time. I can tell you we are already beginning to see in parts of the country specific ramifications from climate change.

Another question posed was regarding some confusion as to exactly how cap & trade will go about reducing emissions.

VILSACK: The reality is if you understand the full details of cap & trade what you know is that there is an overall cap placed on emissions and that that cap over time is reduced. In other words there is a premium placed on lowering emissions over time. There will be some enterprises that are very efficient, very capable of lowering their emissions and substantially benefitting from that by basically being able to sell their excess on a market. There are others who perhaps will take longer to become more efficient and therefore have to be given some flexibility which is why they can go on the open market and purchase offset credits that will allow them to meet their responsibilities

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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