By Gene Hall

Texas Farm Bureau: Cap and Trade – All Pain, No Gain for Texas agriculture

Okay, all of you get it by now. I’m not in favor of the cap and trade climate legislation that passed the U.S. House and stalled in the Senate, despite enthusiastic support from the Obama Administration. Please let it stall forever. This is more than opposition to a minor inconvenience. This thing, folks, is a pending disaster. Wall Street loves it because it would give them a new market to manipulate, but our current economic situation is no time to impose the largest tax increase in the history of the planet. But while they happily trade carbon credits, the rest of us—including Texas consumers and Texas farmers and ranchers, are going to suffer.

Cap and trade would effectively kill off many industries, including Texas agriculture, the one nearest and dearest to me. Global warming fanatics preach about how climate change will doom agriculture. Don’t worry. Cap and trade would kill it off long before high temperatures could do the job. Let’s be clear. We could even be talking about losing YOUR job here.

The public is clearly not clamoring for cap and trade with pitchforks at the gates of the Capitol. According to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, global warming ranks dead last on a list of issues compiled for research. See this link

Is global warming a threat? Maybe. Yes or no, I think it makes sense to discharge as little carbon into the atmosphere as we can manage. Why though, can’t we do it with tax credits and other incentives? There is exciting new research on clean ethanol – algae, cellulosic (wood) and others. Some leaders in the environmental movement are talking again about non-carbon emitting nuclear power. We can even clean up coal power if we fund the research.

Instead, EPA is now telling us that they want to do this by draconian regulatory fiat, imposing the same scary limits, unless we take the bitter medicine of a cap and trade bill. 

Well, at least we’ll be lowering world temperatures, right? That’s the thing. No one who favors cap and trade is even willing to claim that. It will not lower temperatures by even a tenth of a degree. That’s because the world’s really big carbon emitters are claiming third world status, arguing that they should not be required to participate in economic suicide. I don’t really blame them, but do we trust the Chinese that much? I think it’s much more likely that they will burn even more fossil fuels to claim the markets that we surrendered without a fight.

I think it’s time this proposal from the lunatic fringe of the environmental movement to die a quick and merciful death. Even if you believe in manmade climate change, let’s focus on something that will work. That something is market based solutions with tax incentives and return on investment. Let’s reward entrepreneurs and turn them loose to solve whatever problem exists. Sell the solution in markets around the world.

I think the public has this one right. I can hear them yawning whenever it’s brought up.  Go ahead and drive up the cost of their fuel, food and nearly everything they buy. I think they might wake up and force those that dreamed this up to pay a heavy political price.


Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
Follow Gene on Twitter and Facebook.

4 Responses to “Cap and trade – all pain, no gain for Texas agriculture”

  1. Outstanding comments. I hope others will take the chance to really look into the proposed legislation and see this is not a cure all. Yes we need to control emissions, but this is not the way to do it. This will stop the big guys from emitting carbon, it won’t be a deterrent. It’s only going to hurt the smaller guys, those in agriculture and those who depend so much on agriculture. Gene you nailed this one.

  2. I get infuriated when I read about Cap and Trade. Why aren’t the countries who are making the biggest negative impact being held responsible for cleaning up their act first? There’s not an nth degree of consideration of ranchers and farmers and the food we consume in the Cap and Trade fiasco!

  3. jd barnett says:

    "the world’s really big carbon emitters are claiming third world status"…Gene Hall

    Let’s be REALLY clear about this…The top three CO2 emitters in the world are China, the US, and the European Union, with 21.5%, 20.8%, and 13.8% respectively (according to of data compiled in 2006). Americans, per capita, emit 19.1 metric tons of CO2 vs. China’s 4.6 tons per capita and the EU’s 9.5 tons. 33% of China’s emissions are for export goods, many of which come to the United States and Europe.

    It’s fine to oppose legislation, but let’s not pretend that it is all the other guys that are pumping carbon into the atmosphere. At best, that stance is blind and at worse, hypocritical. If we do not take the lead in reducing carbon emissions no one will. So whether it is cap and trade, a straight carbon tax, or some other method, it is imperative that we move on the issue and show the world the way. That is what America is about.

  4. As usual, JD, your facts are hard to argue with, but I do disagree on some of the conclusions. As for the top emitters, I was referring primarily to #1, China. Your per capita designation is correct, though I think it’s fudging to count the EU, which is made up of 27 nations. The EU is not even following it’s own Kyoto standards. The US is a big per capita emitter because of our economic success. The rest of the world cannot hope to duplicate that without our constitution and our captitalist system. The fact of the matter is that China and India emit more carbon than any other nations, and they want to be exempt from standards. Per capita lists are good for bashing US industry, but don’t really explain carbon counts if the total emission leaders are exempt. As for leading them to the Cap and Trade trough, they will only come if there are bales of US cash in it. Even then, I’m betting they will look at one another and say, "I can’t believe the Americans are this stupid," and fire up another half dozen coal plants to take advantage of our unilateral surrender. It would be easier to get Republicans and Democrats to agree on health care. If we are to lead, let’s lead the way we really know how. Incentivize the process. Look for answers in the market. If we lead there, then they wills surely follow. If we fall on our own sword… I don’t think so. Cap and Trade will not work. It is fatally flawed. Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to the world is a poor and economically wounded America. Cap and Trade will push us down that ill advised road.

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