Climate Change More Expensive to Farmers than Climate Bill, Report Says

While the U.S. farm lobby tries to derail climate legislation it says would add crippling costs to production, the effects of climate change itself — including crop damage from increased flooding, higher temperatures, and drought — pose the real threat to the industry, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group. Proposed congressional legislation that would place a price and a cap on carbon emissions would increase production costs less than one half of one percent — increases the report says “are so small they would be lost in the background noise caused by annual swings in farm income.” The far greater threat is the increase in costs associated with rising temperatures and changing weather patterns, the analysis says, citing a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that predicts a 30 to 63 percent decrease in corn and soybean crop yields by the end of the century because of climate change. The Environmental Working Group urges the Senate to enact legislation that provides incentives for farmers to cut their own carbon emissions and allocates funding for local cooperatives that reduce carbon emissions and assist farmers in protecting their land against the threats of climate change. Read the report.