The Senate May Actually Do Something Useful

Written by SK Ashby

Anytime the Senate considers legislation that may actually be good, there's always the chance that a lone senator will block it or that Trump will veto it, but if either happens in this case I don't think it will be the latter.

A group of Senators have signed on to sponsor a bill that could be described as a climate change bill, but one that gives Republicans a fiscal and political reason to support it.

The new bill would create a system to effectively pay farmers for capturing or offsetting greenhouse gases.

The proposed Growing Climate Solutions Act directs the USDA to create a program that would help the agriculture sector gain access to revenue from greenhouse gas offset credit markets. [...]

The bill would establish USDA-certified protocols for farmers, ranch and forest owners seeking to develop projects that can generate offset credits under existing programs. It would offer a new revenue stream for farmers, ranchers and land owners suffering from the economic impacts of global trade tensions and the coronavirus.

Landowners and farmers can generate credits and earn money for activities ranging from reforestation to sequestering carbon in soil to capturing methane from livestock.

Although the Trump regime has tried to cut them off, the oil industry already has access to such credit markets. The oil industry is required by law use a certain amount of ethanol each year under a law passed during the Bush Administration; a law that was more or less a subsidy program for farmers. Under that program, the industry can bypass the requirement by buying or trading biofuel credits.

I don't think we should have to pay farmers to do something they should be required to do anyway, especially at large, industrial-scale farms, but it won't hurt. Just popularizing the idea that we can both tackle climate change and build an entirely new "green" economy on it would be significant. That should be a bipartisan concept.

We can actually make a lot of money by going green. The economy doesn't have to and won't be hurt by it. It should be plainly obvious to anyone paying any attention at all to what happened over the past several months that fossil fuel's days are numbered. If anything, continue to treat oil like the end all, be all is worse for the economy than going green. Plummeting demand for gasoline rendered oil less than worthless at one point as it traded in negative territory. That is something that literally can't happen to solar energy because the supply (sunlight) and the demand (home and business electricity) is continuous. There's no solar energy sitting in tankers stranded off the coastline.

In any case, if this legislation reaches Trump's desk by some miracle, I'm sure he'll sign it. He's in favor of paying his constituents in farm country. He'll probably even try to take credit for it even though he probably has no clue at all how a carbon credit market works.