Bismarck once noted that “laws are like sausages: it’s better not to see them being made”. Were he around today, he might add that both laws and sausages are, in the US at least, based mainly on corn.
As I’ve just mentioned in a separate post, today is crunch time for the Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House, and so everyone’s watching the few remaining undecided Democrats, many of whom have big coal interests in their states. One set of Democrats that’s firmly in the ‘decided’ column, though, is the farm-lobby – who will be busting out cold beers and chucking ribs on the grill this weekend if the Bill passes.
Not long ago, the farm lobby were adamantly opposed to the bill, which they feared could increase their input prices, especially fuel for on-farm energy use. Moreover, the mighty corn lobby was especially unhappy that it wasn’t invited to the cap and trade party, as National Corn Growers Association President Bob Dickey made very plain on May 18th:
“After reviewing the legislation, we can see the bill does not clearly provide for a mechanism by which corn growers can sell carbon credits on the market. We strongly believe the bill will increase input costs without specific opportunities to offset those additions. We cannot support the American Clean Energy and Security Act in absence of the provisions that we have explained in some length to the Committee.”
Well, that was then. The bill now includes an amendment submitted by House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson, which will:
- create a market for agricultural offsets that allows the sector to take part in cap-and-trade;
- have this market regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, not the Environmental Protection Agency; and
- explicitly exempt agriculture from having an emissions cap of its own.
Oh dear. Continue reading