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Secretaries Testify on Climate Change

Secretaries Testify on Climate Change

Vilsack says farmers must be engaged in the process.

As the climate bill begins to move through the U.S. Senate, the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee met Tuesday to conduct a hearing on the bill. In prepared testimony, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, to produce meaningful emissions reductions an offsets program will likely require the participation of thousands of landowners. He pointed at the importance in engaging farmers and ranchers in crafting the solution to this critical issue.


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the committee of his department's efforts to accelerate the development of renewable energy on its vast public lands and offshore areas. Salazar warned, however, that the nation cannot fully unleash renewable energy's economic engine unless this committee, and the Senate, put an upper limit on the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are damaging our environment.


Energy Secretary Steven Chu focused on the threat of climate change when he said overwhelming scientific evidence shows that carbon dioxide from human activity has increased the atmospheric level of CO2 by roughly 40%, a level one-third higher than any time in the last 800,000 years. He emphasized that denial of the climate change problem will not change our destiny; a comprehensive energy and climate bill that caps and then reduces carbon emissions will.

Vilsack, Chu, Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson during their testimony endorsed the Senate's effort to write a climate bill and backed a USDA lead-role in running a carbon capture program. Vilsack says agriculture can be a winner if a carbon capture and credit trading program is done right.



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