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IFB National Legislative Priorities — Defeat Cap and Trade

January 21, 2010
  • Defeat  cap and trade legislation and support comprehenisve energy policies that will stabilize the costs of farm inputs and transportation.

Illinois Farm Bureau remains committed to defeating cap and trade legislation which would drive up agricultural input prices, create a large hole in our nation’s energy supply, kill jobs, and do nothing to change the climate.

The cap and trade scheme in H.R. 2454 (Waxman-Markey) limits large greenhouse gas emitters to 2005 levels.   Companies would be required to purchase allowances from the government for every ton of  CO2 they emit over their cap.   Companies would also have the option to purchase carbon offsets from what the Commodity Futures Trading Commission estimates will be a $2 trillion market.

Under the bill, 85 percent of the allowances will be given away in the early years.  By the mid 2020’s, nearly all of the allowances will be auctioned driving up the price of carbon and energy.   Offsets will become even more important, but because the vast majority of offset opportunities are available by planting trees, the impact on agriculture will be significant.

In fact, USDA economists estimate that if the price of carbon hits $70 per ton, landowners would have an incentive to plant trees to capture tons of carbon per acre.   As much as 59 million acres of crop and pasture land, including tens of millions of acres in the Corn Belt, would go into trees, limiting our nation’s ability to produce food for a growing world population.

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At the AFBF annual meeting in Seattle, IFB introduced a Sense of the Delegate Body resolution that passed unanimously.

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