Any chance for a global treaty on climate change evaporated amid the chaos of raging activists and pepper spray this past month in Copenhagen, Denmark. Even President Barack Obama's own urging for global leaders to accept a less-than-perfect agreement on climate change garnered no formal return.
Maybe we shouldn't expect the world to craft a perfect agreement on global warming. After all, our agricultural community can't reach consensus on climate change policy. Some groups, such as the National Farmers Union, endorse cap-and-trade legislation as the foundation for future climate goals. Others, such as the American Farm Bureau, oppose cap-and-trade, arguing that agriculture will suffer increased energy costs for little return on investment.
USDA says proposed climate legislation will have limited impacts on farm costs; meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued findings that could penalize farms for releasing carbon emissions above a threshold. Who is right?
Whether you believe global warming is real or dismiss it as theory, the fact remains that climate change action is coming. Agriculture's current dissent is only delaying its involvement in major energy reform. Keep in mind: If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Neil Hamilton, director of the Ag Law Center at Drake University, attended the summit in Copenhagen and offers this perspective: "We shouldn't delude ourselves that the rest of the world won't act without us or that we are immune from either the natural effects of climate change or the political effects of policies developed in our absence.”
You can read about how climate-change legislation may affect you in Top Talk on pages 24 and 26 and "Climate-Change Shake-Up” on page 36.
In the Hot Seat. Speaking of changes in climate, I'm in the hot seat as the new editor of Top Producer. The publication has been in print for 27 years and I've written for 15 of those. Top Producer is where I cut my journalistic teeth and learned business strategies that apply to our family veterinary business. It's where I've met many of you and formed lasting friendships.
I have big shoes to fill following editor Greg Vincent. Luckily, he's still along for the ride, working beside me as the new editor of AgWeb.com
, our digital media outlet. Much like the ranch I grew up on, it takes lots of hands to make this magazine run smoothly. I look forward to the trail ahead.
Editor of Top Producer
Top Producer, January 2010