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US Agriculture secretary promotes agriculture offsets

- Wednesday, July 08, 2009

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has strongly promoted the role of agricultural offsets provided by US farmers (such as changes to no-til cropping or perennial pastures) as a key element of the US cap and trade climate change legislation currently being considered by Committees of the US Senate. The Committee hearing are a preliminary step in the process of developing a final form of the legislation that will be voted on by the Senate later this year.

In his testimony, Vilsack said "I believe it is crucial that we engage the participation of farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. This issue is too important for agriculture and forestry to sit on the sidelines. A viable carbon offsets market – one that rewards farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners for stewardship activities – has the potential to play a very important role in helping America wean itself from foreign oil. It also represents a significant building block to revitalizing rural America. Landowners can also play an important role in providing low-carbon renewable energy."

Again, the contrast between the US and the proposed Australian approach is considerable.

Matthew Reddy commented on 14-Jul-2009 06:37 PM
Yes this is a terrific statement from Tom Vilsack, however the focus on 'offsets' might be somewhat narrow. Participation of agriculture under sectoral coverage would also require emissions MRV. There are other approaches also that could be considered with scheme design, but clearly the US has a front foot approach to agriculture and sees the opportunities with a more balanced view rather than a focus on cost and compliance issues.

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