Environmental Defense Fund Welcomes Stabenow Climate Offset Legislation

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow unveiled her new agriculture and forestry title for the Senate climate bill today. The legislation would establish a domestic “offset” program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We gave the measure qualified praise today, saying it gives the Senate an opportunity to craft a consensus approach that delivers low-cost emissions reductions with environmental credibility — but also cautioning that the bill needs more work to guarantee that offsets are environmentally effective.

Here's the statement from our senior policy manager, John Mimikakis:

Offsets are contentious, but they are essential to effective climate policy. Senator Stabenow deserves praise for trying to find the middle ground and move climate legislation forward.

We have a number of concerns with the bill that we’d like to see addressed as the legislation moves forward. Offsets need to be measured as rigorously as any other emissions reduction. Otherwise there will be little faith in what offset developers are selling and no certainty that we’re achieving pollution reduction goals.

We look forward to working with Senator Stabenow and other members of the Senate to build on the legislation introduced today.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 5, 2009 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, it is vital the following information be disseminated to the public as well as to our political leaders.

    A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to livestock….however recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of "Livestock and Climate Change" in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!

    http://www.51percent.org

    The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are: (1) Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock. (2) Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2 (3) Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world. (4) Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

    Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

    Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say "This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."

    The fact is that we are being informed of the dangerous path we are on by depending greatly on animal flesh for human consumption. We still have the opportunity to make the most effective steps in saving ourselves and this planet. By simply choosing a plant based diet we can reduce our carbon foot print by a huge amount.

    We are gambling with our lives and with those of our future generations to come. It's madness to know we are fully aware of the possible consequences but yet are failing to act.

    Promoting a plant based diet to the public is would be the most effective way to curb deforestation, we hope this will be adopted as a significant measure to save the rainforests and protect the delicate ecology.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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