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Climate Plan Will Replace Farms With Forests

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Traci Watson
USA TODAY
Thursday, August 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — New forests would spread across the American landscape, replacing both pasture and farm fields, under a congressional plan to confront climate change, an Environmental Protection Agency analysis shows.

About 18 million acres of new trees — roughly the size of West Virginia — would be planted by 2020, according to an EPA analysis of a climate bill passed by the House of Representatives in June.

That’s because the House bill gives financial incentives to farmers and ranchers to plant trees, which suck in large amounts of the key global-warming gas: carbon dioxide.

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The plan would, however, be hard on ranchers and farmers and potentially food prices, says American Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young.

In the Senate, which is likely to consider a similar bill this fall, there are some who worry the loss of farmland would lead to increases in food prices worse than those seen in mid-2007, when costs spiked 7% to 8% above 2006 levels.

This article was posted: Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:18 am





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