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When you think of the most powerful industry lobby that spreads misinformation about climate change and environmental regulations you’d likely think of the fossil fuel industry. Groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API) conjure images of highly-paid federal lobbyists feeding politicians canned lines like “environmental action kills American jobs” but the truth is there’s another powerful industry lobby right up there with API spreading climate denial: the American Farm Bureau Federation. Inside Climate News put out the first of a series called Harvesting Peril that investigates the lengths the Farm Bureau went to in order to stop climate action in America. We highly recommend you visit their site and check out all the informative multimedia pieces they’ve created, their reporting is truly shocking. Here’s an excerpt:
“In pursuit of their common goals, the fossil fuel industry and the Farm Bureau worked to sow uncertainty about the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change and the economic consensus on how to solve the problem. Fossil fuel companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a network of think tanks and friendly lawmakers who gave climate denial political credibility as part of a decades-long misinformation campaign. The Farm Bureau provided a national grassroots network that was hard for Congress to oppose.
“Everyone on the Hill knew that there was a division of labor,” said Joseph Goffman, a former associate assistant administrator for climate at the Environmental Protection Agency and executive director of Harvard Law School’s environmental and energy program. “Oil companies argued that consumers would pay a price at the pump for regulation of fossil fuels. And the farmers could argue that they were a far more economically sensitive group of fuel users and would be seen more favorably than oil would be.” To this day, the Farm Bureau does not acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming caused by human activities is a reality and that it poses grave risks to agriculture.”
Why This Matters: American farmers face very grave risks from climate change, from torrential rains and flooding to extreme heat and invasive species their crop yields are already taking a hit. While the Farm Bureau claims to fight for the best interests of America’s farmers they’re actually doing them a grave disservice. Changing the way farmers raise crops and animals to promote more environmentally friendly practices can have an enormous effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change. While the farm lobby may claim that these practices may be an undue burden to farmers, that’s not the case. The USDA’s grant program to help farmers switch to conservation farming practices is so popular that it can’t keep up with the number of farmers applying for grants.
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