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  • Carbon Offset Program Won’t Offset Farmers’ Lost Income from Cap and Trade

    An American farmer

    I will go along with this, even though I am somewhat skeptical, if I can be convinced that this is going to work, that it’s practical, that it makes sense. That’s where I am coming from. I am not carrying water for anybody, I’m just trying to make sense out of this.”

    The “this” Representative Collin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee chairman, is referring to is cap and trade, with the Waxman-Markey bill currently making its way through the House. It’s something Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi recently called “preposterously convoluted.” Congressman Peterson has a right to be skeptical because this is true especially for farmers.

    Farmers use a lot of electricity, a lot of diesel fuel, and a lot of natural gas-derived chemicals and fertilizers to grow crops and maintain their farms. So it shouldn’t be surprising that a cap and trade program that artificially drives up the cost of energy will unfavorably affect farmers. What may be surprising is how unfavorable these effects are, causing expected farm income to drop $8 billion in 2012, $25 billion in 2024, and over $50 billion in 2035. These are decreases of 28%, 60% and 94%, respectively.

    To compensate, politicians are promising farmers more income generated through offsets. If a company believes it’s cheaper not to reduce its carbon footprint, it can pay someone else to do so. For instance, a company could pay a logger not to cut down trees, or they could pay someone to grow trees since trees absorb carbon. (The Onion lays it out nicely here.) It’s just as fraudulent and manipulative as The Onion claims it to be. A country can build a cleaner coal plant saying they were going to build a dirtier one while cashing a check from a developed country for the alleged carbon offset.

    Proponents of cap and trade trying to push the bill through Congress are touting farmers as the beneficiaries of a carbon offset program because farmers can use cleaner technology, reduce nitrous oxide emissions, or simply not grow crops. Rex Woolen, a corn and soybean farmer, chose not to grow part of his crops, thereby reducing his carbon footprint. He said, “They called me a tree-hugger. Then I showed them my first check.”

    But because so many can take advantage of the carbon offset program, there will be little left for farmers. Page 60 of the Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill is projecting that most of the domestic offsets will come from forestry and growing trees. The little bit for “other ag” may add up to 15 million tons per year by 2035.

    The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis estimate that the allowance price (in 2009 dollars) will be just under $140/ton in 2035 (our last year of the model). So if “other ag” and “animal waste” add up to 15 million tons per year and the allowance price is $140, then the total offset revenue going to farmers is $2.1 billion—and that’s assuming no cost of creating the offset. Compare $2.1 billion in offset revenue to $29 billion of lost farm income (again after adjusting for inflation to 2009 dollars). Just this component of lost farm income is over ten times the offset revenue.

    It’s not just farmers that lose out. Manufacturing, construction, wood products, machinery, electrical equipment, transportation, textiles, paper products, chemicals, plastics and rubber, and trade are all industries hit particularly hard. But no one feels it more than the consumer. Heritage analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill found that because of higher energy prices, the average per-family-of-four costs rise by $2,979 per year. In the year 2035 alone, the cost is $4,609. And the costs per family for the whole energy tax aggregated from 2012 to 2035 are $71,493. Over the 2012-2035 timeline, job losses average over 1.1 million. By 2035, a projected 2.5 million jobs are lost below the baseline (without a cap and trade bill).

    The planet isn’t the big winner, either. Climatologists predict that Waxman-Markey will lower temperatures by only hundredths of a degree in 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree at the end of the century.

    If farmers in Vermont want to change their cows’ nutritional diets to reduce the methane gas they produce, that’s their prerogative. But if Waxman-Markey becomes law, they won’t have any cows to feed. At least they’ll receive a carbon offset check.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Carbon Offset Program Won’t Offset Farmers’ Lost Income from Cap and Trade

    1. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      This entire Cap & Trade thing is lunacy. To start with, these "off sets" do absolutley nothing to solve the problem that the Libs claim (pollution and Global Warming) is killing the Earth. If I can buy offsets from you and still run my "dirty coal plant", what the hell have I accomplished? I swear that those in power are taking some very good drugs. There is no way that any of this makes any sense to a sane, sober person!

      Go ahead, keep voting these imbeciles in!

    2. Bill McClure says:

      An article in the "Winnipeg Free Press" june 22 relates that is is so cold in Northern Canada that to quote" Prolonged cold snowy conditions in the Hudson Bay area are expected to obliterate the breeding season for migratory birds and most other species of wildlife this year" It is getting and colder we are being asked to fix a peoblem that does not exist.

    3. marcia says:

      all this makes sense coming from the "emperor with no clothes" funny you do not hear this talked about on the night time news

    4. Pingback: Carbon Offset Program Won’t Offset Farmers’ Lost Income from Cap and Trade « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    5. Barb mn says:

      Ozzy, you are so right. It's a coercion and devastation. If passed, there will be much discrimination, as with bias, they will allow some of their favorites to slip through. Oh, and the government's, stolen from the private sector, businesses! It's one of many set-ups to America's downfall.

    6. jimmy44 says:

      Ozzy6900, you are correct. This whole thing is nothing but a scam to raise taxes for no good reason. As for me, I just got a billion free carbon offsets. So can you: http://www.freecarbonoffsets.com

    7. Sonja California says:

      Congress owns the Capitol Power Plant. In 2007 they spent (our money) $90,000 to try cap and trade. By 2009, they found it had failed miserably. Yet in the same month they abandoned this miserable failure, they turn around to instigate this outrageous scheme on the American public.!!!!!!! It's failing miserably in UK, Canada, Australia. And to add insult to injury they insist on using science fiction instead of real scientists. The EPA no better. Findings and ratings done in secret behind closed doors at WH instructions to write nothing down so no record. Letters written by appropriate HR reps demanding investigation. Waxman took over investigation. Ilegal and unconstitutional "czar" Carol Brown in WH board member of Socialists Int'l. So much corruption and unAmerican agendas going on it makes me sick.

      United we stand……

    8. PattieW, Virginia says:

      This has to be the worst scam in history. It is one big ENERGY BILL, to be paid for by a big ENERGY TAX. It's just money the government will take from us to fund their other idiot projects. Al Gore and partner Kliener and Perkins have invested in over 40 companies that will benefit from this bill. To avoid government regulations, companies will move to China or India. Now farmers will be paid not to raise crops. This is insane, we need crops, livestock, etc. Maybe Obama, Pelosi, and Waxman are aliens, they don't need food like we do. Just a thought. Contact your representatives and tell them VOTE NO. We are tired of big government and big taxes.

    9. Rita Reuer, Tea, SD says:

      We lost our ranch under Carter's brilliant presidency. I don't think politicians understand the agriculture industry or how important it is for our country. I checked on Senators' backgrounds and most of them studied to be lawyers….it would be beneficial to have more diversity in their experience and expertise! Do they understand how important the oil industry is for our country?,,,,doesn't seem like it. Check out the financial status of North Dakota and Wyoming. I am really disillusiond about the leadership we have in Washington….lot's are inept and sold out to the money machine…..environmentalists, etc It's really disheartening….Rita Reuer, South Dakota

    10. Michael O'Hara, says:

      Folks, I hate to break it to you, but there's no free lunch.

      Forty years of research has been done by thousands of scientists working for hundreds of different organizations that points very strongly to a serious conclusion: the earth is warming up and we humans are a big part of the reason. This is going to have some very negative effects on agriculture as well as every other aspect of our lives. It's not some political conspiracy – the science is solid. There are critics but their explanations of why things are changing the way they are don't add up. Read up on it yourself – http://www.realclimate.org or http://www.pewclimate.org are two places to start.

      Now, can we change the course of the climate now and avoid the worst effects? That's a good question with complex answers. Certainly cutting back on our production of the "greenhouse gasses" (CO2, methane, etc.) is essential. The "cap and trade" idea is what's on the table now. It's a step in the right direction but I think it's too complicated for easy implementation. I prefer a simple "carbon tax" imposed on the energy source (coal, oil, natural gas) at the source. Either way, the slightly higher prices will feed back to the users and they will decide to change their behavior accordingly (use less fuel, do things at a different time of day, car pool, etc.)

      In any event, it isn't something that someone else is going to pay for. We (all of us) helped cause the problem and all of us need to work together to help fix it and get through this.

    11. Tucker, Michigan says:

      This is going to result in a domestic food shortage making us dependent on the govt for food. They are also trying to make backyard gardens illegal. How much more do we need to see before we Constitutionally, physically remove and prosecute these destroyers of our way of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness????

    12. J Torres says:

      The cap and trade program will be too costly to farmers, corporations, and tax payers.

      I do not support or agree with this Cap & Trade act. I do not see a reason for it, and it will not improve our current situation with regard to economy.

      I plead for Congress and our US State Reps not to pass this bill, or you will soon be voted out.

      Thank you,



    13. Dave Chelsea, MI says:

      Mr. O'Hara – no one argues whether there is climate change .. always has been, always will be .. However, there remains HUGE differences in data analysis relative to mankind's impact on climate change. However, there is one inconvenient truth that continues to be buried under all the emotions and ideology that is the underpining of dialog on this topic – please access the Report contained at the hyperlink I've provided: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data… …… it is my sincere belief that environmentalism has been elevated to a religion and has less and less to do with science with each passing debate.

    14. Milt says:

      Global warming is nothing more than Chicken Little Science, and a big LIE. The Earth is a living, breathing, dynamic planet, and these are just Mother Earth's normal cycles of change. How can you possibly base the statistics of climate change on about 150 – 200 years of recorded data? You can't. The scientists who are jumping on the Global Warming bandwagon are doing so because if they don't support this big LIE, they won't get funding to do their research. There are no living beings to cause global warming on any of our planets besides mother earth, so explain why there is global warming on these planets? It is just another way for Al Gore and his cronies to fill their pockets with money at our hard working taxpayers expense. It is a sad truth to know that scientific research can be bought and paid for by the rich and elite to help them increase their wealth. If Al Gore and the like are so concerned about their green earth then why are they not concerned about our future kids financial growth? They are breaking their piggy bank and don't care if they do. What a future our kids have to face. What a shame!

    15. Hock Wisconsin says:

      Global warming is a myth. It cannot be scientifically proven. The planet has gone trhough many changes in its history. There have been raging fire, volcanic eruptions etc.

      The Congressmen who are supporting this bill are idiots. We need our farms the corporate and the small farmer.

      These Congressmen are destroying our way of life. We have to takle this head on. These idiots are having school teachers preach this agenda in our schools. We need to take back our senate and house of representatives by voting the idiots out of office. Unfortunately we have people like Ohara who have drank the poison punch of these idiots.

      A mighty country brought to its knees by little pieces of socialism introduced little by little. We need to get back to producing things in America. Get government out of the way and let us compete with China and India.

      When the government says trust us be afraid!

      When the government says I am here to help be afraid!

      Watch out America!

      Save the Farmer!!

      Save the factories

      Vote to remove Pelosi and here band of crooks!

    16. Pete,Texas says:

      What are these idiots in Washington drinking? Whatever it is, they are drinking from the same trough?They are taking control of everything!!!When they take over farming and pass cap & trade. We won't even be able to afford to eat, therefor, why worry about health care?

    17. Pingback: Today’s Calamity: Carbon Offsets Do Not Offset the Economic Pain of Cap and Trade | Conservative Principles Now

    18. Marv Spring Grove Mn says:

      We have some of the best farmers and farm land in the world in southern Minnesota, we all know this cap and trade is going to hurt farming and small towns that depend on farmers the most. So our congress man votes for cap and trade. This is what is wrong in washington.

    19. Pingback: Cap and Trade: A $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax | Conservative Principles Now

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