Chairman Harkin Wants Renege Clause

Yesterday, Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin spoke out about the upcoming formation of a US climate bill, saying that the bill needs an “off ramp” built into the bill itself in case other nations fail to meet their climate legislation’s goals. This “off ramp” should, according to an article by Reuters’ Charles Abbott, “allow the United States to relax its greenhouse gas rules if other nations fail to control theirs.” The price of farm upkeep is expected to climb with the instatement of a formal climate law, and Harkin casually explained his thinking with “If other countries don’t join us… hey, we’re off the ramp.” Farm groups are the biggest proponent of the ramp idea because “US farmers would be at a disadvantage on the export market if other nations kept their prices low by not curbing carbon emissions,” according to Abbott.

But is this a good idea? In yet another move that pits the environment against the economy, would it be responsible for an “off ramp” to be written into the Senate bill, allowing us to renege on our climate promises? It seems as though thinking like this is yet another symptom of a nation addicted to waste and oil. And although it is fair that the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman would be concerned about the seemingly adverse impact a meaningful climate bill would have on US farmers, it seems counterintuitive that Harkin would contribute to meaningless climate legislation as farms across the country become increasingly more vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

For Abbott’s full article, click here

What do you think? Comment.

by M. Molendyke

  • Thanks for posting about this, I would love to read more about this topic.

  • Roboc
    Jul 28th, 2009 at 00:33 | #2

    As the biggest producer of greenhouse gases there really is no reason for the US to dodge its responsibilities. The excuse that there is no point in doing anything to reduce emissions is old hat as China has recently announced a massive investment in renewable energy and is actively working to reduce its contribution to greenhouse gases.

    It might mean that people in the US have to change their way of life a little, and that includes farmers, but trotting out the same old excuses for not doing anything is just pathetic. Its time for action now and quickly as there is very little time left to avert a massive disaster. How much would that cost? How much would that change the US lifestyle?

  • jdelf
    Sep 10th, 2009 at 16:15 | #3

    It seems like every special interest group [and the big farm ag industry is a special interest] wants an off ramp from every proposed policy that will benefit the earth and its inhabitants. What if we all simply took the off ramp? It would be so crowded that no one would be left standing in the “go” lane. Seems like the best way to destroy the planet is to simply devote an off ramp to all special interests. But those of us who care should work late into the evening to ensure that the off ramp runs directly to the sea, which as it rises, will claim many of the privileged gangs; the edge of the sea will be overcrowded with the off ramp crowds.

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