President Obama Shows Courage on Climate and Energy

Posted on | January 22, 2013 | 1 Comment

By Jan Ahlen, Government Relations Representative

National Farmers Union has long believed in the science affirming climate change, and the need to transition to a low carbon economy driven by renewable energy and clean technology. In President Obama’s second Inaugural Address, climate change and renewable energy featured prominently. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”

NFU could not agree more. Climate change is real, and mitigating and adapting to climate change will be a tremendous challenge. Nowhere else is this threat more acute than in agriculture. With rising temperatures, increased storm intensity and widespread droughts, crop systems and livestock operations face a growing challenge. Despite the hurdles, the threat of climate change is also an opportunity for agriculture. Renewable energy is key to moving to a low carbon economy, and has the potential to be an economic driver for rural America. Development of wind, solar, biofuels and other sources of renewable power can transform the rural economy and lead our nation to a more sustainable future.

President Obama’s words are a clear indication of where the administration wants our country to go in the next four years. While significant action on climate change will remain an uphill battle in a polarized Congress, there are common-sense policies that can be continued or enacted that will help mitigate climate change, create new, well-paying jobs in rural America and help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the main driver of the commercialization of next generation biofuels. This year will likely see sustained attacks on the RFS by the oil and gas industry, but Congress must continue to support our major effort to wean our nation off of oil.

Passage of a five-year farm bill is also vital to increasing renewable energy production. Some key renewable energy programs within the farm bill include the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), Biorefinery Assistance Program (BAP) and Biobased Markets Program (Biopreferred). These programs have helped develop 6,600 renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, employed 15,000 people and backed advanced biorefineries in 9 states.

After two years of relative inaction on climate change, President Obama made clear that this is once again a priority. We commend the president for taking charge and agree fully that we owe action to future generations.


One Response to “President Obama Shows Courage on Climate and Energy”

  1. Jennifer
    February 4th, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    I am disappointed to see that the National Farmers Union agrees with the scientific theory of climate change. As a 7th generation dairy farmer, I had hoped that the NFU would take a more neutral stance in order to better represent all of its members, rather than just the segment that supports the climate change theory. While there is always dispute regarding new scientific theories, many of the scientists who originally supported the theory of climate change are now withdrawing support. A petition has even been started and signed by over 31,000 American scientists who believe that there is no convincing scientific evidence that human pollution and other activities are the cause of “global warming”. They, and many others, believe that the earth goes through temperature cycles (ever heard of something called an ice age?) These scientists are revolting against the global warming trend, as many were forced to follow along because of government funding or their academic establishment. Additionally, many, including scientists, economists, scholars, etc., believe that global warming became another “cause” to save the earth before the theory had a chance to be tested and proved to be true. The issue became politicized and taken up by the biased media very quickly, without a chance for the normal scientific process to be carried out. It has become accepted that global warming is true and that we, as humans and citizens of the United States, have a duty to do all we can to prevent any further global warming. The President is very outspoken about this issue and believe that debate over climate change is over and that everyone should just fall in line with his, and the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), thinking. Supporters of climate change theory site the increase in natural disasters, changing temperatures, and storm cycles as proof. What no one thinks about is that changing weather patterns are natural, or that high-quality record keeping and measurements of weather have only been in place for a little over the past century. What about the previous centuries and millennia? Do they not need to be taken into consideration when studying the patterns of the global climate?

    There is much debate and controversial “evidence”, opinions, and testimony to weed through when trying to form your personal opinion on climate change. Whatever you decide as an individual or an organization, please remember that you are not the majority simply because it appears that way. Louder voices (with governmental funding and support and media support) do not mean that you are automatically correct, the majority or in the right. Please be open-minded and take into consideration other opinions and members of the NFU when we say that we disagree with your opinion. We are not saying that you have to agree with us; we ask only that acknowledge and respect our beliefs and opinions.

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About NFU

National Farmers Union was founded in 1902 in Point, Texas, to help the family farmer address profitability issues and monopolistic practices. NFU works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
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