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UNHOLY ALLIANCE: Big animal agriculture and phony environmental groups collaborate on climate change

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The new group, called the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, include PHONY environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

GEORGINA GUSTIN: The American Farm Bureau Federation, the country’s largest and most powerful agricultural lobbying group, has long pushed against climate legislation and worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to defeat it. But on Tuesday, the Farm Bureau announced it had joined an unlikely alliance of food, forest, farming and environment groups that intends to work… to reduce the food system’s role in climate change and reward farmers when they lower their greenhouse gas emissions.

Members of the new group, called the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the National Council of Farm Cooperatives and the National Farmers Union, among others. The organizations have been meeting for the better part of the last year and formally unveiled their partnership Tuesday… The Washington-based agriculture lobbying powerhouse, the Russell Group, whose clients include high-profile agriculture, pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations, is overseeing the effort…

The new group unveiled a set of 40 policy proposals that its members hope could make their way into legislation, be carried out through executive order or changed administratively under a Biden administration. The administration has said it wants to enlist farmers and the farming industry in climate solutions, including through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that help farmers more easily participate in carbon markets…

Some critics… said they would fall far short of the transformational changes needed in agriculture. “These recommendations dodge some of the most important challenges for agriculture—namely, how do we facilitate a transition away from the primary ag-related sources of emissions: the overuse of synthetic fertilizers and the continued expansion of large-scale animal feeding operations and their excess manure,” said Ben Lilliston, director of rural strategies and climate change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “Voluntary, incentive-based approaches are important, but as long as this industrial system of production is in place, it will be difficult to get deeper traction at the speed with which is needed to meet the climate crisis”… Emissions from the U.S. agriculture system have continued to climb…

The food system generates about one-quarter to one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and increasingly has drawn the focus of policy makers. Reaching the necessary emissions cuts to keep warming under 2 degrees from pre-industrial levels will require an all-out effort—one that will fail unless food manufacturers and farmers are part of the solution, research finds. Most recently, a report from University of Oxford researchers, published in the journal Science, found that the food system alone will generate enough emissions to blow past the more ambitious 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate agreement within four decades. SOURCE…

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