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Friday, December 4, 2009

In October, EWG released a report that questioned the misguided claims made by farm lobby organizations and their patrons in Congress who are arguing that climate change legislation would cause devastating increases in the costs of production. Crying Wolf clearly demonstrated that any increases in farmers' production costs would be minimal and would be lost in the background noise of annual swings in income caused by yield variation, crop prices and the cost of seed and chemicals -- a small price to pay to protect agriculture from the crippling droughts, volatile weather and increased pest and disease outbreaks expected as the planet warms.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WASHINGTON December 1 –The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said today that it will wait until mid-2010 to decide whether to grant a waiver request that would allow up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline. Growth Energy, an ethanol trade and lobby group, requested the waiver. EPA based its decision on the need to conduct more tests to determine the higher blend’s impact on engines. Under current federal rules gasoline can contain no more than 10 percent ethanol.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

 

Taking steps to confront the threat of a warming planet would have the huge added payoff of making people healthier around the globe, a group of scientists have concluded in a unique package of new research papers.

The health “co-benefits” of cutting greenhouse gas emissions include significantly cutting rates of heart and artery disease, respiratory infections, strokes, various cancers, lung disease and dementia, the scientists found. They argue that the financial savings from these health gains could offset a significant portion of the economic cost of reducing emissions.

Monday, November 30, 2009

 

By Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group Midwest vice-president.

Growth Energy, a corn ethanol lobby group, is grossly exaggerating the economic benefits that a higher ethanol blend in the nation’s fuel supply would bring. The group claims that granting its petition to increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent would create an additional 136,101 “green jobs.”

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Law professor Neil Hamilton penned a harsh critique of the Farm Bureau's dangerously shortsighed  opposition to climate change legislation in a guest column in yesterday's Des Moines Register. Hamilton is director of the Agricultural Law Center at Iowa's Drake University. He and Drake students will be traveling to Copenhagen next month for the United Nations climate change negotiations as part of the Iowa U.N.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last night, Stephen Stock -- lead investigative reporter for Florida's CBS-TV 4's I-Team -- aired a report on people collecting taxpayer-funded farm subsidies for years after they've died. Stephen's story is a timely follow-up to a Government Accountability Office report two years ago that showed how $1.1 billion in those federal subsidies went to the estates or companies of dead farmers over the course of 7 years.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Big Ag is taking a beating from Al Gore's recent green blitz of late night comedy shows. On tour promoting his new book, Our Choice, the former VP and Nobel Prize and Oscar winner has been blunt in his assessments of agriculture's contribution to the climate change crisis.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The dedicated folks at The Organic Center released a hard hitting report today, Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

 

Brazil announces retaliatory trade sanctions on U.S. products after World Trade Organization targets U.S. cotton subsidies. Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Freedman writes that: "The WTO gave Brazil permission in August to impose $294.7 million in sanctions against U.S. goods -- the second-highest amount ever permitted by the Geneva-based trade arbiter -- and Brazil’s government earlier this month released a list of 222 products that may be subject to increased duties."

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Due in part to EWG’s heavily searched farm subsidy database, the Huffington Post nominated EWG president and co-founder Ken Cook as one of its 10 “Ultimate Green Game Changers” and put the final choice up to the web site’s many readers. For two months, readers weighed in, casting 1.7 million votes.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“Today’s high (or low) temperature was an all-time record for this date.” How many times have you heard that? This kind of news has been a staple of local weather forecasts for decades. And if you’d been keeping track, you would have noticed something curious. The number of days that produce sweltering record high temperatures has been eclipsing the number of days with frigid record lows.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

 

The Great Recession is being felt in America’s stomachs, the government reports.

Nearly one in seven American households had trouble putting enough food on the table at some point in 2008, according to the annual report on food (in)security by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Veteran reporter Dan Morgan has taken a hard, clear-eyed look at carbon markets for agriculture and the validity of  various conservation practices aimed at fighting climate change (h/t farmpolicy.com).

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Prairie Home Companion,  the long-running radio variety show, Robert Altman movie and purveyor of powdermilk biscuits,usually broadcasts from St. Paul, Minnesota. Last week's performance originated from Des Moines. During the show's the Lives of the Cowboys segment, the following exchange transpired.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Agriculture Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture released a surprising bit of climate change-related research on Tuesday, work that suggests that getting big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from simple changes in common farming practices may not be as easy as many hope.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All corn, all the time. Good Magazine's YouTube channel has had this punchy, short video up since January, illustrating how corn permeates American life. EWG's work tracking the billions of dollars in taxpayer funded subsides to corn and corn ethanol laid the foundation for artful stuff like this.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Delta Farm Press reporter David Bennett posted his Q and A with EWG Midwest VP Craig Cox on Friday. Their discussion centered on points raised by Cox's recent report on the cost of climate change to agriculture, Crying Wolf.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hearings began in the Senate last week on the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. This bill, the companion legislation to the Waxman-Markey climate change bill passed by the House, aims  for a 20 percent cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Corn ethanol is far from an environmentally friendly fuel. While petroleum's pollution contributions are obvious and well reported, ethanol's are less clear. However, from chemical fertilizers and pesticides slathered on corn crops (which run off into rivers and streams and eventually end up in the Gulf 'Dead Zone')  to the clearing of wildlife habitat, there is much to worry about.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last week saw the launch of a new web property by a coalition of environmental and business groups who take a dim view of plans to raise the ethanol content of gasoline to 15%. The site, Follow the Science, marshals the overwhelming scientific evidence to deliver a focused message to the Obama Administration and Congress to not raise the corn ethanol blend limit by 50%.

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