Farmers Are Warming Up To The Fight Against Climate Change

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An unusual came together on climate. This week environmentalists and bedrock conservative farmers. Who have blocked climate legislation in the past. Both groups are calling for policies to help farmers fight climate change through financial incentives. Not regulation and peers to insurance has more. It was two thousand nine when the american farm bureau federation declared war on climate legislation and unan rococo. It was a staffer in congress. We were right in the thick of working on the first comprehensive climate bill passed the chamber of congress the law would have limited greenhouse emissions using a method called cap and trade but the farm a lobbying powerhouse said the cap part would drive up costs and put farmers out of business. Don't cap our future. I think was their slogan and and they had those on cats that people were wearing up on on capitol hill and they succeeded. The legislation died this week. The head of the farm bureau zippy divall struck a different tone. We're going to have a real common sense. Science based discussion about how we pretend to climate and our farmers won't be part of that. He was announcing a new food and agriculture climate alliance. It includes other farm groups also big environmental organizations like the nature conservancy where people. Elias is director of agriculture. It feels like in the past eighteen months. The conversation has just really shifted. The shift is happening for a couple of reasons. Many food companies have promised to reduce their greenhouse emissions and. They're pushing for changes on the farm sometimes paying for the changes and barb glenn who ceo of the national association of state departments of agriculture says. It's partly just what farmers are experiencing everyone in this unique coalition understands and is Witnessing the changing of the climate and we all want to be involved in impacting it. The new alliance is proposing dozens of policy changes. They encourage farmers to install equipment that captures methane a powerful greenhouse gas from cow manure or farm in a way that bills healthier carbon rich soil actually removing carbon from the air. Farmers would get paid to do this. Maybe by the government maybe by private companies that want offset or cancel out some of their own carbon emissions by paying for greenhouse gas reduction. Somewhere else some environmentalists who are not part of this alliance like jason davidson. At friends of the earth are dead set against some of those ideas. There's a heavy reliance on voluntary market based solutions but those carbon offsets that farmers might sell just allow polluters. Somewhere to keep polluting. He says also it can be hard to measure what some of these farming methods actually accomplish meredith niles a specialist on farming and the environment at the university of vermont says scientists are working on that measurement problem and the fact that farm groups are finally talking about reducing their own greenhouse emissions. She says is a big step forward. A lot of farmers didn't want to speak about it because it might need a potential regulation. They're fine with incentives. Though and there are signs that the incoming biden administration's thinking the same way the leader of the biden transition team for the us department of agriculture recently called on the usda to set up a so-called carbon bank. It would pay farmers to fight climate. Change dan charles npr

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