April 20, 2014

Renewable Energy Recognized as Factor in Mitigating Climate Change

Over the weekend – an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its report for policymakers titled Climate Change 2014 – Mitigation of Climate Change – which is being released today. 25x’25 reports the summary says global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels – despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. In fact – between 2000 and 2010 – those emissions grew more quickly than in each of the three previous decades. The study also shows carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributed nearly 78-percent of the total GHG emission increase from 1970 to 2010.

However – the report notes many renewable energy technologies have demonstrated performance improvements and cost reductions. According to the report – renewed investment in the kinds of renewable energy advocated by 25x’25 can bring about the desired outcome of limiting the global mean temperature two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The panel says sustainability of production practices and the efficiency of those practices are issues to consider – but that bioenergy can play a critical role for mitigating climate change.

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Food Safety Modernization Act Poses Challenges For Livestock

Many industries are asking the Food and Drug Administration to exempt American brewers from draft regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act – according to DTN. The groups believe proposed livestock feed regulations would impose additional costs and make it difficult for producers to use spent grains for animal feed. The Beer Institute – one of the organizations opposing the rule – has worked for more than a year to present scientific-based arguments on this issue.

Beer Institute Vice President of Communications Chris Thorne says the marketing of spent grains has been used for centuries. Since humans already consume beer – Thorne says the production is held to exceptionally high standards. He says the grains are produced in a swift, sanitary and safe manner – and often are consumed by animals within 24 hours of being separated from the beer. The institute has calculated the proposed rule would cost a single large brewery as much as 13.6-million dollars per year to comply.

The National Milk Producers Federation argues the proposed rule incorrectly imposes safety standards on animal feed similar to those for human food. NMPF Senior Vice President of Communications Chris Galen says the proposal is something FDA is creating when there isn’t a problem to correct – as feeding spent grains to cattle has never been demonstrated as a health concern. The deadline for a final, published rule is August 30, 2015.

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Senate Finance Committee Proposes Biodiesel Tax Incentive Extension

The Senate Finance Committee released its proposed tax extenders package Tuesday – which includes a two-year extension of the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive and a reinstatement of the pre-2014 expensing amounts for farm infrastructure and equipment under Section 179.

American Soybean Association First Vice President Wade Cowan says more than 98-percent of American farms are owned by families – and the committee’s proposal is an important one for agriculture as it enables farmers to compete and succeed in the face of growing competition. Cowan says the biodiesel tax credit extension is huge – encouraging development and sustained success of the biodiesel marketplace.

The biodiesel industry has been operating in absence of the credit since the end of the fiscal year in September – so Cowan says the proposal is a welcome first step toward putting the industry back on track for the next two-years. He says the Section 179 reinstatement also is important – allowing farmers and other small business owners to expense investments made in new technology, equipment and infrastructure in their operations. ASA hopes the full committee takes up and advances this proposal quickly – and calls on the full Senate and House to pass these provisions.

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