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IFB Cap and Trade Talking Points

January 11, 2010

Updated Climate Change Talking Points – Illinois Farm Bureau

1) The “science” behind climate change is unraveling.

  • There are suggestions that climate scientists conspired to overstate the case for a human influence on climate change [1]
  • To prove their theories about climate change, scientists have manipulated data[2]
  • The head of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University – the main source for measuring global temperatures – has stepped down amid the scandal
  • Surveys show that decreasing numbers of Americans believe that global warming is real; from 71% in April 2008 to 57% in October 2009[3]  
  • 40% of Americans say they place little or no trust in what scientists say about the environment[4]


The U.S. is on the brink of passing sweeping, expensive legislation based on faulty, stilted evidence and based on data that has been manipulated.

2) In a period of U.S. history when job creation is of tantamount importance, the cap and trade legislation would eliminate millions of jobs. Under the worst case scenario (no international offsets, limited new nuclear power plants and limited coal carbon capture technologies), cap and trade would result in the loss of 2.3 million jobs in the U.S. over the next 20 years.[5] 

3) The cap and trade legislation would leave U.S. agriculture – one of the most productive systems in the world – as a shadow of its former self.

  • Afforestation accounts for an increasing share of total offsets as CO2 prices rise.[6] 
  • 90% of CO2 sequestered by afforestation would occur in the Corn Belt and South Central regions of the U.S.[7]      
  • Under the worst-case scenario, 70 million U.S. acres would be taken out of production. This is the equivalent of 84,870 farms, each consisting of 825 acres. Instead, these producers would grow trees.[8]
  • This downsizing of agriculture would substantially downsize agriculture and severely reduce – even eliminate – the United States’ ability to help feed the world.  
  • In 2008, soybeans generated $15.8 billion in export sales – the single largest commodity exported in value terms from the United States. This bill would effectively drive soybean exports to zero in the next 20 years. Wheat exports would be off by 1/3. Corn exports would be off by 40 percent.[9]
  • The United States would begin to import the very commodities the rest of the world has looked to us to provide for decades.
  • This reduction in the size of agriculture would extend well up and down the chain; fewer farm acres translates to the need for less farm equipment. Removing 70 million acres from production would mean a $15.9 billion dollar hit to the farm equipment sector alone.[10]    
  • By 2050, hog slaughter is projected to be 23% lower than baseline 2030 levels, resulting in price increases of 27%[11]

By 2050, beef slaughter is estimated to fall by almost 10% compared to 2030 baseline levels, resulting in an estimated 14% price increase[12]                                                                          

[1] The New York times, “Hacked E-Mail is New Fodder for Climate Dispute” November 21, 2009

[2] The New York Times, “Hacked E-Mail is New Fodder for Climate Dispute” November 21, 2009

[3] Pew Research Center for the People & the Press October 22, 2009

[4] Washington Post – ABC News poll December 2009

[5] Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy

[6] Statement of Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist, USDA before the House Agriculture committee December 3, 2009

[7] U.S. EPA study, 2005

[8] American Farm Bureau Federation analysis based on USDA data

[9] Baker, McCarl, et. al. for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

[10] Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy

[11] USDA analysis based on FASOM simulations provided by EPA

[12] USDA analysis based on FASOM simulations provided by EPA

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