Agriculture chief disputes USDA climate bill study

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday took issue with a report his own agency has issued on the impact of the House-passed climate change bill, which concluded there will be a large-scale conversion of cropland to forestland.

The study, authored by USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber, said the bill would help the agriculture sector overall. But it also said if the price of carbon allowances increases to $70 per ton of carbon dioxide by 2050, almost 60 million more acres of land would be converted to forest, 35 million acres of which would come from cropland.

That would be a 14 percent decline in cropland from the current level and take away 24 million acres from pasture -- an almost 9 percent decline.

The analysis was based on the Forest and Agricultural Sector Optimization Model by researchers at Texas A&M University, which EPA has used to study climate legislation.

Glauber's testimony on the study before a House Agriculture subcommittee Dec. 6 had led some farm leaders and Republicans to warn such a shift would lead to much higher food production and consumer food costs. Vilsack echoed those concerns Friday, saying that the scenario would be "disruptive to agriculture in some regions of the country."

But Vilsack added that he took away from his talks with Glauber that the economist does not believe the increased forest forecast is "necessarily an accurate depiction of the impacts of climate legislation."

Vilsack said the model could be updated and noted that Glauber testified that careful design of an offsets program could avoid "unintended consequences."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.