Grassley: Climate change needs international solution

by | May 12, 2014 | Audio, News

WASHINGTON and DES MOINES, Iowa – The White House has released a report on climate change, which Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says could be trade-distorting, if not handled correctly.

The recently released National Climate Assessment paints a bleak picture of the future without reductions of emissions that drive sea levels to rise and extreme weather events to become more commonplace.

The report highlights the threat such a future poses to agriculture, which in turn could be devastating to the U.S. food supply. In the Midwest, the report lists among the impacts of climate change longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels, which have increased yields on some crops and have been at times offset by extreme events like heat waves, droughts and floods.

In a teleconference with Iowa reporters last week, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley pointed out that climate change is a global problem, and should be treated as such by those it affects.

“We had global warming between 1940 and 1998,” says Grassley. “Since then, we haven’t had a rise in temperature. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem. If that problem is going to be solved, it ought to be solved by an international treaty.”

The reason for that, Grassley says, was best summed up by former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“If the United States does it by itself, it won’t accomplish much,” Grassley says, paraphrasing remarks Jackson made before the U.S. House of Representatives. “So that’s what gets me to worldwide treaty. If we pass something and China, India, Brazil and Indonesia don’t, they put as much or more in the air than we do – in fact, more – and you can understand, then, that we’d be exporting a lot of our manufacturing under the restrictions of global warming legislation to China, and we’d be losing jobs. So if you have an international treaty, so that all countries are on a level playing field, then, I think, that’s the best way to do it.”

Suggestions found in the report for mitigating climate change in the agriculture sector are similar to the suggestions found in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including the use of cover crops and no-till, as well as best management practices to reduce runoff.

To hear more about Grassley’s perspective on climate change legislation distorting trade, click here.