Ag Policy Blog

Obama to Detail New Climate Initiatives

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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In a speech Tuesday, President Obama will lay out a series of executive actions his administration is planning or initiating to combat climate change.

The speech at Georgetown University comes on the heels of comments the president gave last week in Berlin. It also comes just two weeks after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at the National Press Club about climate change and laid out some of the work at USDA to deal with the challenges.

The president released a video on Saturday that touched on the subject. He called climate change "a serious challenge – but it’s one uniquely suited to America’s strengths."

For biofuel advocates, the president's brief video provided some positive indications that the administration would continue supporting efforts to grow renewable fuels and more investment into research on renewables.

"We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them," the president said. "We’ll need engineers to devise new sources of energy, and businesses to make and sell them. We’ll need workers to build the foundation for a clean energy economy."

While saying there is no single step or effort that can reverse the effects of climate change, the president gave some explanation why steps are needed.

"And we’ll need all of us, as citizens, to do our part to preserve God’s creation for future generations – our forests and waterways, our croplands and snowcapped peaks."

The "why we should care" element of climate change is perhaps the area where the White House has largely failed to make its case to the American public about the long-term effects of climate change and the increased weather volatility

With Congress failing to take up the topic, the administration is putting more long-term research on the risks to agriculture and the food supply. Vilsack, speaking to DTN on Friday, said he didn't know exactly what the president would say in Tuesday's speech related to agriculture, but clearly the administration is putting a spotlight on these topics. Vilsack, in his speech, said climate change is a new and different threat to agriculture. Of course, if the president expressed similar sentiments, it would put a much brighter spotlight on the challenges.

"Any time the president speaks it makes a difference," Vilsack said Friday. "I think it's important to point out this administration has already gone on record on agriculture ...We are clearly focused on this issue as an administration and at USDA."

USDA is creating seven new "regional climate hubs" that have yet to be named. Those hubs will combine work at USDA and land-grant universities to provide farmers with tools for best management practices and risk mitigation to challenge ranging from pest management to water availability.

Another key USDA decision is the marrying of agency recommendations and policies on cover-crop management to reduce soil erosion and encourage more carbon sequestration.

Yet, Vilsack noted the president has a broad array of interests to highlight on a topic such as climate change. The president is likely to talk about the risks to forests due to longer droughts and invasive species that have ravaged forests in the west.

"The president also is concerned about the impact on our nation's forests, which is directly related to the water supply, particularly in the western United States," Vilsack said.

White House video:…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


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6/26/2013 | 8:41 AM CDT
If there was no money or control in it for a liberal leftist they would not have any interest in climate change which has been happening for centuries. The Clintons did not like America, our current leaders really do not like our country. Gore, Clinton, and Barak have all run around the world trashing our country. The U.N. is ready to cash in on global warming BIG TIME ! The world has lost all respect for us and our community organizer.
Jarrod Bennett
6/26/2013 | 8:08 AM CDT
I love how someone found a way to bring crop insurance into a discussion thread about the president's climate change initiatives. smh...
6/25/2013 | 4:06 PM CDT
your buerocratic night mare is self induced by volentering for an ag welfare payment and subsidized insurance.
tom vogel
6/25/2013 | 9:39 AM CDT
Seven "regional climate hubs?" What the heck is that all about? We already have such a huge USDA bureaucracy and now seven more? In the state of Ohio where my farms are located, we have the FSA, NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, all at the county level as well as in the state headquarters. Then we have the Federal EPA that is involved in every breath we take. Add to that all of the State of Ohio departments that replicate all of these national functions...and now, seven more regional hubs? Would someone please tell me that I just woke up from a bad, bureaucratic dream?
melvin meister
6/24/2013 | 10:20 PM CDT
Great facts Jay .Fox News has the Right Wingers buying their slease hang in thereJay.
John Olson
6/24/2013 | 6:42 PM CDT
Jay check out
6/24/2013 | 4:45 PM CDT
Jay you truly are a good liberal. I see you figure the anointed one is truly the messiah. If his precious government was not going to get any money from his concern for global warming, which is the term you folks used until that proved problematic. Something like liberal all of a sudden becoming progressive because does not make you sound like a complete fool. If you are going to be a liberal at least have the guts to admit it. Liberalism is the place for people who have finally figured out they are not what they thought they were and do not have the guts to try to change it. It just has to be someone else fault. Congratulations you have reached it.
Jay Mcginnis
6/24/2013 | 3:34 PM CDT
97% of scientists are convinced of global climate change, there was an election where the majority of the people voted for a president that follows science not creationism, and why would I subscribe to DTN if I didn't farm? Whats your point "unknown",,, you like oil, coal? You want to support Mideast terrorist states and such scandals as the 911 scandal of what GW was doing while 3000 Americans were killed on American soil by Saudi born terrorists and then the Iraq scandal of Bush attacking the wrong country (oopsy!!!) oh sorry Gordon,,, that war was because of WMD that was never found (double oopsy!!!!). I soo no valid points being made by any of you guys other then parroting what Rush Limbo says.
6/24/2013 | 1:48 PM CDT
What has the temperature trend been for the last 15 years Jay Mcginnis ? Have you ever learned about fossil records and past carbon concentrations ? What were people doing then to influence the climate ? There is no normal concerning weather . If you farm you would know that . Every year is different , every day is different . When they quote a percentage of scientists that agree on causes of climate change how many are climate scientists and weather trained and how many are political scientists ?
Jay Mcginnis
6/24/2013 | 11:40 AM CDT
It is about time this society realizes that corporate profits are not as important as life itself. Getting off fossil fuels needs to be the largest concern we will ever have to face. Just think if we had the money from the past oil wars to divert carbon catastrophe! It is probably too late for climate change as the atmosphere reached 400ppm this past year putting us in the danger zone or "tipping point" but we still need to exonerate this administration for taking the first steps and hope they ignore the corporate puppets of the right wing.
6/24/2013 | 10:09 AM CDT
This sorry fool will do anything to get off the subject of all his scandals. he has the Fast and Furious scandal that one of our border agents killed trying to prove Mexico violence was because of our gun laws. The Fort Hood shootings that he refuses to call a terrorist act. The Benghazi killing of our Ambassador and three other brave men while hid under his desk and got ready to go to Las Vegas for a campaign speech and fund raiser. He then gets one of his toadies to blame it on a video on all of the major media news shows. Then he has his slime Attorney General trump up a false case against a Fox News reporter that they had to go to 3 judges to find one with low enough morals to sign it. Then the I.R.S. only targets conservative groups who want tax exempt status for their groups and tries to blame it on some poor fools in Ohio. He takes responsibility for nothing. Believe me this guy will try anything to get off these subjects. The picture off him standing and giving a speech with a Marine holding an umbrella over his head is fitting for a Banana Republic Dictator which pretty much describes him anymore.
John Olson
6/23/2013 | 2:25 PM CDT
President goofy thinks he can control the weather. See George Will's take at