Source: Agricultural Retailers Association

The Agricultural Retailers Association reported that climate change has resurfaced as a top priority for both the new administration and Congress. On Feb. 3, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), revealed a set of broad climate change principals that call for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The principals avoid mentioning specific timeframes and reduction targets for the purpose of gaining a broad consensus. The principals suggest that climate change legislation should set "short and long term emissions targets that are enforceable." The principals also give revenue from emissions trading to clean energy technologies and to help the adaption of climate change impacts.

Boxer's principals have received support from Democrats on the EPW Committee and environmental organizations, while industry groups and Republicans remain skeptical. Industry groups believe that the emphasis should be on the deployment of new technologies, and Senate Republicans suggest that climate change legislation is likely to drive up energy prices when the U.S. economy is already struggling.

Boxer is attempting to work with Republicans on the EPW Committee in hopes of climate change legislation passing this year.

Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has received pressure from a group of state attorneys general to make a quick decision that greenhouse gasses endanger public health. An endangerment decision by the EPA would mean that greenhouse gasses would lead to regulating greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The EPA under the Bush Administration resisted making this determination and the former Administrator Stephen Johnson said that the CAA is not the proper vehicle for regulating greenhouse gasses. However, President Obama's advisors have indicated that he supports the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the CAA, and Administrator Jackson has indicated that she is sympathetic to regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the CAA.