Farming in many regions of the US is likely to be among the worst casualties of climate change over the next decades. So it is an obvious, ethical, sensible and responsible move that John Deere supports climate and energy legislation to reduce our use of climate-changing fossil fuels, through its membership in US-CAP.org
Predictably, however, Deere is being targeted by attack ads by Freedomworks that will be shown on CNN, Fox News, Headline News and the History Channel.
The lobbying group FreedomWorks is the group that created the Tea Party movement. Based in Washington, DC, it is run by Dick Armey, a former House Republican Majority Leader who is now a fossil industry lobbyist.
Their next target is climate legislation that threatens the fossil industry with caps on pollution. This has put John Deere squarely in their sights.
In typical astroturf Freedonworks fashion, the ads imply that it is Deere employees who are the injured party, not coal, oil and diesel company executives. These urge Deere employees to “stand up against back room deals in Washington. Tell management: No more back room deals.”
(Of course, if these same fossil industries that create these astroturf lobbying groups did not immobilize half the Senate with bribery, it would be possible to create good, sensible legislation – that is in the public interest – in front rooms.)
Freedomworks funded the furor over ending health insurance company abuses as equating to “killing grannies” last year, but the real impetus behind the lobby group is their well funded prevention of any curbs on the fossil industry. They orchestrated the removal of Van Jones last year.
Under cap-and-trade legislation, major producers (25,000 tons annually) of carbon dioxide, such as coal-fired power plants, would have their volume of carbon emissions capped at lower and lower limits each year, which would make continuing business-as-usual more and more expensive each year.
The climate legislation being proposed would fund alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels, with the funding for the switch being supplied by the fees on polluters, which they could compete amongst themselves to lower, by swapping credits with competitors within their industry who were less able to become more energy-efficient.
The companies would either have to reduce their emissions volume or buy increasingly rare and expensive permits from their competitors that have been able to earn extras by reducing their fossil fuel pollution.
Examples of ways to reduce fossil energy use include switching to clean, renewable American solar, wind, waves, or geothermal energy, or incorporating combined heat & power with fossil fuels to effectively halve the pollution-rate-per-unit of produced energy. Deere has been a leader in fuel efficiency innovation.
The company has long believed “effective policy to address global climate change ought to include the benefits of developing and supporting renewable energy sources such as biomass – both agriculture and forestry, wind and bio-technologies, as well as processing and distribution improvements.”
Kudos to John Deere for taking a courageous stand against the most dangerous, powerful and rich industry lobby on the planet, in joining with US-CAP. American Businesses for Clean Energy and US-CAP.org are coalitions of businesses allied with Deere for a livable future. That is not so radical.
But don’t be surprised to see John Deere trashed on TV by the real evildoers in the fossil lobby’s front group Freedomworks over the coming months.
Image: John Deere