Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wheat Growers Oppose ACES; UN Touts NYC Summit

Sep 8: As Congress returns and prepares to take on climate change legislation, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and staunch opponent of such legislation, applauded the board of the National Wheat Growers Association (NWGA), which, on September 4, by a vote of 26 to 2, approved a new resolution on climate legislation and regulation. The new resolution puts the group on record as "opposed to greenhouse gas legislation or regulation that has a negative impact on production agriculture."

According to a release from Senator Inhofe, the new resolution marks a "stunning shift from the group's recent endorsement of the Waxman-Markey" (ACES) legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June [
See WIMS 6/29/09]. The Wheat Growers Association resolution states, "NWGA is opposed to greenhouse gas legislation or regulation that has a negative impact on production agriculture. NWGA will strive for a net economic benefit to farmers, agriculture and food production. We believe neither greenhouse gas regulation nor legislation should take effect until the major carbon emitting countries of the world have agreed to regulate their own greenhouse gases in a like manner to ours. NWGA urges USDA to do a detailed economic analysis of any legislation or regulation before it becomes law. Furthermore, NWGA will oppose EPA regulation and will work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.” The board also voted 24 to 0 to "remove existing resolutions relating to greenhouse gas regulation and an agriculture cap-and-trade program."

Senator Inhofe said, "I'm pleased that the organization representing the interests of wheat growers nationwide has reached the right conclusion: cap-and-trade legislation and potential EPA greenhouse gas regulation pose serious harm to farmers and rural America. In times of great hardship in rural communities across America, both of these approaches to addressing climate change will only bring further job cuts and economic decline. This new resolution marks an important step in the effort to defeat a cap-and-trade energy tax and EPA's misguided regulations."

The original plan for a September 8 rollout of a draft Senate climate bill has been delayed until later this fall. On August 31, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) announced a delay due to intensive work necessary of health care reform and Senator Kerry's hip surgery. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had originally called for markup of the Senate bill to be completed by six Senate Committees by September 28. Senator Reid issued a brief statement on the delay and said he "appreciates the leadership of Senators Boxer and Kerry as they shepherd this important legislation through their respective committees. They are working diligently to craft a well-balanced bill and Senator Reid fully expects the Senate to have ample time to consider this comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation before the end of the year.”

In a related matter, at a press conference, Janos Pasztor, Director of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Change Support Team said the high-level United Nations climate change summit on September 22 in New York [
See WIMS 6/24/09] seeks to allow leaders to hold candid discussions on how to resolve obstacles in talks with fewer than 90 days left before the start of December’s conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. He said the New York summit “is intended to provide political momentum at the highest level to accelerate progress toward a deal in Copenhagen.” He said only 15 official days of negotiations remain before conference in the Danish capital, where countries are expected to wrap up negotiations on a new agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To date, the pace of progress of climate talks has been “much too slow,” Pasztor underscored, with Ban continually urging leaders to take more urgent measures to reach a “fair, equitable, comprehensive and effective” global pact. All countries are invited to the special New York summit. Pasztor said, “This is not just for eight countries or 20, but for 192,” including highly vulnerable States, large emitters and fast-emerging developing nations. We need a global solution for a global problem.”

The day-long event will comprise round-table discussions chaired by heads of State and government on “how we can move toward a lower emissions, climate resilient global economy.” A release from the UN indicates that the Secretary-General has just returned from a visit to the Arctic ice rim where he saw the devastation wrought by climate change first hand, voicing hope that all leaders could see the effects of global warming for themselves [See WIMS 9/2/09]. Pasztor said his trip “reminds us that addressing climate change is not optional or something that could be postponed indefinitely. A failure to take action will have serious consequences, not just for polar bears in the Arctic, but for people on every continent and every country.” A 9-page background paper to help frame discussions at the Summit, focusing on the core political issues that need to be resolved to catalyze strengthened cooperative action on climate change is available.

Access a release from Senator Inhofe (
click here). Access a release from NWGA (click here). Access a statement from Senator Reid (click here). Access a release from the UN (click here). Access further details on the press conference (click here). Access the Background paper (click here). Access the Summit website for additional information (click here).