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Why Does Agriculture Keep Getting a Climate Pass?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Farm Issues page.
While the topic of climate change in this country often feels like the truth that dare not speak its name, there is no escaping what Grist's own David Roberts refers to as its "brutal logic." The planet will warm no matter how international climate negotiations - the latest round having just occurred in Durban, South Africa - play out.

It's because of that inevitable warming that Britain's chief scientist, John Beddington, along with an international group of scientists, have taken to the pages of Science magazine this month to ask climate negotiators to stop ignoring agriculture.

Agriculture has been hovering just on the margins of climate change policy. Of course, that's no coincidence. Precise measurement of the climate impact of many industrial farming practices remains difficult and controversial, and the U.S. in particular has resisted any attempts to formalize the agricultural sector's obligation to climate mitigation.

The reasons for this are twofold: Big and Ag. After all, it was American agribusiness that exacted virtual exemption from the Obama administration's failed attempt at a climate bill as a price for its potential support. The EPA continues to develop its carbon emissions tracking plan, but the agricultural sector has managed to keep itself out of that, too.


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