For the people who supposedly spend all of their time trying to undo the damage caused by former President Donald Trump’s supposed anarchy, officials in the Biden administration certainly spend a lot of time trying to find ways around the problem. law.
From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s use to force COVID-19 vaccines (now permanently left across the country) to urging Congress to include all kinds of non-tax stuff in With the supposedly all-fiscal reconciliation bill (quashed by their own parliamentarian), the Biden administration has shown a willingness to bend the rules to its political needs.
The latest of these efforts is to create a Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program under the Commodity Credit Corporation, whose job is not to promote global warming policies but to provide aid. financial support to farmers when they cannot market their crops because of the disease. , weather or other disasters.
The plan to bypass the limits on what the Commodity Credit Corporation can spend and create a slush fund for agriculture is to use a provision in its enabling legislation that allows federal money to be spent on marketing products. basic. In other words, it is not an environmental program – it would not be allowed by law. It’s a marketing program that will allow farmers, in theory, to get more for their produce because it’s grown in a way that combats global warming.
And that means a campaign against pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetic modification. It doesn’t matter whether farmers have been using pesticides since the dawn of agricultural history or whether modern science has removed 98% of the toxicity from pesticides and reformulated them to reduce the amounts needed.
It doesn’t matter that without pesticides 80% of crops (using bean crops as a measure) may be wasted or that by mid-century, in just 29 years, 70% more food will be needed to feed the planet. . The fight against global warming trumps everything, according to the Biden administration. So farmers will have to do more with less fertilizer, pesticides or genetic modification.
Agriculture was a big topic at the recent 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland – and rightly so. The UN says 40% of the world’s population cannot afford adequate food. Agriculture is responsible for 10% of global warming.
Participants concluded that the more land had to be cleared for crops, the worse global warming would become, as trees absorb CO2 and farmland does not do so efficiently. But without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetic modification, much more land would have to be cleared for crops, making it even more difficult for countries to meet their Paris Agreement emissions targets.
Climate activists may see this as a pick and choose situation, but it is incorrect. In fact, it would be best if they took a long look at what goes into these products and what they mean for cultivation, management of farmland and feeding the world.
For example, organic farmers prefer copper sulfate, which they see as a natural additive and not foreign to nature. But copper sulfate doesn’t work as efficiently as other pesticides, which means more must be applied and more crops must be grown to compensate for the losses incurred by using a less effective pesticide.
Additionally, a Stanford University study found that modern agricultural technology removed 590 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere. This represents approximately 18 years of CO2 emissions at current rates. The study also found that 97% of pesticides used in California – which has by far the most diverse agricultural portfolio in the country – were no more toxic than a cup of coffee.
Another study found that modernizing agriculture since WWII has saved 120 million acres, roughly the size of California and West Virginia combined. Suppose America wants to continue feeding its people and much of the world. In this case, it either changes course against the demonization of these technologies or prepares for a future with far more of those 120 million acres deforested and reused as cropland.
The world is not currently producing enough food to feed everyone. It might if the efficiencies of American farms could be recreated elsewhere.
In recent months, Americans have experienced the fastest increase in food prices in 40 years, and shortages have hit American grocery stores.
Now the Biden administration wants to sidestep the law to create a slush fund to make farming harder, more expensive to buy food in a country already struggling economically and, oh yes, would be less environmentally friendly.
Now is the time to recognize that, despite all the demonization they go through, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic modification are important tools in providing people everywhere with fresh, affordable and nutritious food – and without expanding. considerably the land needed to do so.
â¢ Brian McNicoll, a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a former senior writer for The Heritage Foundation and former director of communications for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.