From: Ethan Hoerr
In a news cycle full of grim forebodings about climate change, there’s been some good news lately for a change. On the second-to-last day of 2022, a bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden which will significantly aid in the fight against climate change. Even better, this was made possible through the efforts of our very own Hoosier Sen. Mike Braun.
The passed bill is the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and it works by helping agriculture offset carbon emissions. It will help all farmers and foresters get paid for using climate-friendly practices that sequester carbon by allowing them to access carbon credit markets. Sequestering carbon, according to American University, is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in soil as a form of carbon removal. The benefit this practice provides to farmers and foresters is that it restores the health of degraded soil, which makes the soil more resilient against droughts and heavy rain while also requiring less fertilizer.
This new law sets up a third-party certification process through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows producers to generate and sell carbon credits, establishes an advisory council for the USDA to ensure the program remains effective and useful for farmers, and creates an online resource allowing farmers to connect with experts and get help. Through this legislation, farmers, ranchers and foresters will be able to understand and access carbon markets,
helping the environment and boosting their income at the same time.
This accomplishment wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of Braun,
who played a key role in getting it passed. He introduced the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the Senate, then gathered the support needed to pass it. While his compatriots in the House of Representatives were able to get 100 out of 435 members to cosponsor the bill, Braun was able to pass the bill in the Senate by a vote of 92-8, making this a massive bipartisan victory.
This bipartisanship was no fluke, as 84% of Americans support providing a tax credit for developing carbon capture and storage, according to the Pew Research Center. Even more impressive is the fact that 90% of Americans are supportive of more trees to absorb carbon emissions. With this in mind, the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act works to reduce illegal logging globally by restricting the sale of goods originating from illegally deforested land. Supporting a bill like this presents not only a strong follow-up on an already impressive achievement, but a one-two punch against
atmospheric carbon pollution.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act is a big win for land management, the environment, and bipartisanship, and Sen. Mike Braun deserves a round of applause for his integral contribution to getting this passed into law. With the added effect of passing similar bills like the FOREST Act, getting the ball rolling on climate action is closer than ever to becoming a reality.