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 ... 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.
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