|Washington, D.C., June 11, 2008—“Last week, opponents of climate change legislation used procedural gimmicks to block substantive debate, and as a result the Senate tabled the climate change bill effectively ending debate on the matter in the Senate for this year,” says Dennis Nuxoll, director of government relations for American Farmland Trust (AFT). “But this issue isn’t going away—it will be taken up by the next administration.”
Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most important challenges that our country and planet face today. Legislative efforts designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions are critical, and AFT welcomes the start of the debate in the Senate. “Fortunately the national debate about this issue has started, but we are disappointed that concrete legislative steps have not yet been taken,” adds Nuxoll.
American Farmland Trust says our nation’s farmers and ranchers can play a major role in helping to address climate change. “Agriculture and forestry producers have the capacity to offset significant amounts of our nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Sequestration and emissions reductions technologies are widely available now in the agricultural sector that would provide environmental benefits at net cost-savings to society,” says Nuxoll.
“However,” Nuxoll adds, “American agriculture’s ability to provide these valuable environmental benefits to society hinges upon a climate change regulatory structure that provides adequate incentives for action and ensures that regulatory burdens for any action taken are not unreasonable. If properly designed, a functioning cap-and-trade system as proposed in the Senate can unleash the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of American farmers and ranchers toward meeting this great challenge.”
AFT is actively working to help craft a greenhouse gas emissions reduction bill that will both improve the environment and allow agricultural producers to provide environmental goods and services. The organization is working with agriculture and conservation groups to identify and suggest improvements to the proposed legislation and will hold workshops with agriculture leaders to further develop policy options, background papers, and alternative approaches to deal with climate change issues through its Agriculture & the Environment Initiative.
“In coming weeks and months we will try to design policies that help curb greenhouse gas emissions, through a voluntary, non-regulatory framework of sequestering carbon on agricultural lands, emissions from stored manure facilities, and by maximizing the use of manure as renewable energy, and as an organic fertilizer in crop production. We will engage producers and environmental organizations across the country in designing these policies,” says Nuxoll. “It’s past time for farmers and ranchers to be involved in securing effective legislation in this arena.”
American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.