Politics How farmers can step up to fight climate change
High temperatures, wildfire smoke and drought: The politics of climate change in one California congressional district
The changing climate is everywhere Gustavo Carranza looks when he walks through his undulating citrus farm here in this tiny town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. © Damon Casarez for CNN Gustavo Carranza runs a citrus farm in Terra Bella, California, which faces an uncertain future due to the drought. The summer temperatures are consistently higher than they used to be. The smoke from nearby wildfires fills the sky, obscuring the sun and speckling his mandarin trees with delicate ash.
In his first seven months in office, President Biden has made clear his intention to treat climate change as a serious threat to both the country and the world, andto reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by the year 2030.
U.S. farmers have the opportunity to participate proactively in reducing the threat of climate change through a number of efforts, such asin soils by using conserving agricultural practices, reducing or capturing methane emissions from livestock, taking steps to more efficiently use nitrogen fertilizer to reduce emissions, reducing emissions by improving their energy efficiency on-farm, and . In his address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, the president paying farmers to plant cover crops to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions, as part of his proposed American Jobs Plan.
Climate change tops agenda as Iceland heads to elections
REYKJAVIK , Iceland (AP) — Climate change is top of the agenda when voters in Iceland head to the polls for general elections on Saturday, following an exceptionally warm summer and an election campaign defined by a wide-reaching debate on global warming. All nine parties running for seats at the North Atlantic island nation’s Parliament, or Althing, acknowledge global warming as a force of change in a sub-Arctic landscape. But politicians disagree on whether Iceland should take more urgent action to help curb climate change, or capitalize on it as an opportunity for economic growth — as the melting of glaciers and warmer weather offer immediate gains for Iceland’s key
In many ways, farmers are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but they are also strategically positioned to be part of the solution. As we described in athat was commissioned by Farm Journal Foundation, U.S. agriculture is estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to directly generate about 10 percent of greenhouse gases emitted by the U.S. economy. However, with the right incentives, we believe that farmers can turn the agricultural sector into a net carbon sink and take significant steps toward mitigating climate change.
In the paper, we identify athat farmers can take to facilitate the transition of agriculture to a net carbon sink position, encompassing changes in cropping practices, fertilizer application, livestock feeding practices, wider adoption of methane digesters to convert animal and food waste to renewable energy, improving energy efficiency in farming operations, installing wind turbines or solar panels to generate renewable energy on-farm, and using crop waste or dedicated biomass crops to create bio-based fuels.
Which US state reps have the best records on climate policy?
A new report evaluates elected officials in 25 state legislatures on their records on climate change policy.The average American isn’t paying much attention. Fewer than 20% of US citizens can name their state legislators, while one-third don’t know their governor, according to a study by John Hopkins University. But state senators and representatives are often the ones making decisions about land use, extractive industries, energy efficiency, and more with the most immediate impact on constituents’ quality of life.
Video: Climate Change Report Projects Significant Consequences for Food Supply (Food & Wine)
The federal government already has an array of policies and programs in place that offer technical assistance, cost-share funding, and/or low-interest loans to help farmers plan and implement new climate-smart agricultural practices on their farms. The programs are primarily operated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and to a lesser extent through the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). These include two major "working lands" programs, the(EQIP) and the (CSP), which were allocated in mandatory funding for fiscal 2021 in the 2018 farm bill to provide farmers with cost-share assistance to adopt new conserving practices as part of their farming operations.
Two Climate Activists on Hunger Strike Will Now Refuse Liquids Until Politician Meets Them
"We can still turn this around," Swedish activist Greta Thunberg told a crowd in Berlin. "We demand change, and we are the change."Among those protesting strong action against climate change are two activists who are on a hunger strike until politicians agree to make public comments on climate policy. Henning Jeschke, 21, has been fasting since August 30. He is now joined by Lea Bonasera. The pair vowed to escalate their strike and begin refusing liquids, the AP reported.
We know from research that these programs are highly effective in encouraging new practices that sequester carbon or otherwise reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, areleased by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service estimated that cropland acres under CSP contracts retained more than 76 million pounds of soil organic carbon. In addition, we know that considerable carbon is also sequestered when land is retired for extended periods, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), under which farmers refrain from cultivating environmentally sensitive land under 10-to-15-year contracts. The land under CRP contract is generally planted in grass, legumes, forbs, or trees, and/or converted into wildlife habitat or wetlands, all of which help build carbon content in the soil. in CRP fields in Iowa found on average a nearly 7 percentage point increase over a nine-year timeline.
Many innovative practices that help producers reduce emissions in livestock operations are also eligible for assistance under EQIP or CSP, such as rotational grazing and manure management. As of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there werethat reported having methane digesters that converted animal waste into electricity for use on the farm, an increase of 28 percent from the previous Census in 2012. Farmers can get planning assistance for installing digester equipment under the joint USDA/USDOE , and grants or guaranteed loans under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) run by USDA. REAP also aids with the adoption of solar panels or wind turbines, which are also eligible for production tax credits at the federal level.
How Republicans blocked cities from advancing climate solutions
The natural gas industry was losing in cities across the US. Then came an obscure tactic called preemption.While many answers to climate change require national and even international action, cities often have the unilateral power to craft local rules like building codes. But before the city of Tucson could even look at possible building reforms, the Republican-led state legislature took away its power to do so — by passing a state law that natural gas utilities are “not subject to further regulation by a municipality.
We believe that the federal government has an adequate array of programs, as described above, to help farmer adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices, but the funding levels need to be bolstered significantly. On average, between 2000 and 2010, only aboutwere actually funded.
In addition, Congress needs to enact the, to empower USDA to facilitate the emergence of private sector environmental services and carbon markets, and provide increased funding for research to develop more cost-effective ways to measure carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr. Stephanie Mercier is an economist and senior policy adviser with Farm Journal Foundation. Dr. John Reilly is co-director emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
Indian town on edge after 9 die during farm protest .
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Indian authorities suspended internet services and barred political leaders from entering a northern town Monday to calm tensions after nine people were killed in a deadly escalation of a yearlong demonstration against contentious agriculture laws. Four farmers died Sunday when a car owned by Junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra ran over protesting farmers in the Uttar Pradesh town of Lakhimpur Kheri, officials and farm leaders said. Mishra said his driver and three members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party who were in the car were all killed by the protesters in the violence that broke out after the incident.