(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
This morning, we will be addressing opportunities for businesses in sectors like agriculture and forestry in the fight against global warming.
This is the first of three hearings scheduled for this week to address vital aspects of our plan for legislation that will avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming, create clean energy jobs here in America, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Agricultural and forestry businesses have opportunities to play an important role in efforts to reduce global warming. Changes in land use, reforestation efforts and other activities can make significant reductions in global warming pollution.
For example, a farmer can capture the methane that is emitted by waste ponds, or change to no-till or low-till land management, or take other steps to increase the amount of carbon absorbed in soils and forests. Then that farmer can sell those documented reductions in emissions as an “offset” on an open market, where it can be purchased by a regulated entity. The farmer is paid, and the regulated entity receives credit toward cutting its global warming emissions.
By providing regulated industries with a low-cost way to meet some of their pollution reduction requirements, offsets can be an important part of cutting our global warming emissions. And lower costs for industry mean lower costs for families as we transition to a clean energy economy.
Groups working in the farm sector have voiced their support for Waxman Markey legislation, including the National Association of Wheat Growers, American Farmland Trust, and the National Farmers Union.
At the same time, it is essential that offsets in fact reduce emissions, and that they can be monitored and verified. Making sure that offsets have integrity, so that our clean energy bill reduces pollution as it is designed to do, is an important part of the work of this Committee.
I want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today to address this important subject. I look forward to hearing your testimony today.