Kitchen Table Topics - Climate and Environment

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  • What do you think (and understand) about the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which have been passed and are being rolled out to help lower emissions, accelerate renewable energy, empower workers, advance environmental justice, and strengthen climate resilience?

  • What do you think about efforts to urge President Biden to declare climate change a state of emergency?

  • What do you think about efforts to ban all subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, which have reached a record high of $7 trillion globally last year?

  • Do you think we should ban drilling permits for fossil fuels extraction on federal public lands and waters?

  • What do you think about the United States and other developed nations, responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, providing their fair share of financial resources to  developing nations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  

  • What do you think about curbing the meat industry and growth of regenerative agriculture?

  • How do you think we can balance the risk of industry in the U.S. on biodiversity with the economic opportunities of biodiversity conservation. 

  • Do you think the U.S. is meeting its Paris Agreement targets?


Climate Crisis Legislation and Transforming the Energy Sector

  • Climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse are an existential threat to the global environment, human and nonhuman life, security and economies;
  • The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that in order to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate the world must cut greenhouse gas emissions from human sources in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero global emissions by 2050;
  • The dangerous and expensive threat of climate change is compelling us to eliminate sources of anthropogenic carbon pollution in order to avoid serious ecosystem degradation or even collapse;
  • Catastrophes continue to engulf our planet, including rising sea levels, intensifying storms, floods, landslides, melting glaciers, fires, desertification and more;
  • Even our life-support system on earth is jeopardized by a warming of more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels

Renewable Energy

  • Renewable energy (wind, solar, hydro, geo-thermal, biomass, tidal)  is now a competitive alternative to fossil fuels;
  • Grid management and energy storage technologies are rapidly advancing to meet the challenges of managing high volumes of renewable energy;
  • Renewable energies drastically reduce the pollution of our air, land, and water, and can provide the basis of a decarbonized economy with plentiful jobs and adequate energy for our
    well-being and our industry;
  • Experimental and pilot programs have been developed to ease the transition from fossil-fuel related jobs to renewable energy and other jobs;
  • Procurement of rare earth minerals for use in electric vehicles and other technologies in use to harness renewables, remain both a political and environmental challenge. 
  • Markets alone are not capable of piloting a systems-level change, especially in the face of entrenched fossil fuel energy corporations with their subsidies, amortized infrastructure, assets, and established supply chains and delivery systems

Agriculture and the Meat Industry

  • The global production of food is responsible for a third of all planet-heating gases emitted by human activity, with the use of animals for meat causing twice the pollution of producing plant-based foods.
  • The raising and culling of animals for food is far worse for the climate than growing and processing fruits and vegetables for people to eat, the research found, confirming previous findings on the outsized impact that meat production, particularly beef, has on the environment. 
  • 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture come from livestock such as cows, agricultural soils, and rice production
  • By 2030, the planet will generate at least five billion tonnes of feces each year, 79% of which is currently produced by livestock. Animal waste from industrial farms remains vastly under regulated compared to human waste, and if left untreated, it poses risks to human health and biodiversity.
  • Adopting regenerative agriculture (RA) on a wider scale is key to food systems change. RA is an outcome-based food production system that nurtures and restores soil health, protects the climate and water resources and biodiversity, and enhances farms' productivity and profitability.

The Farm Bill is a package of legislation passed roughly once every five years that deeply impacts farming livelihoods, how food is grown and what kinds, our environment, and the health and nutrition of communities across the nation. In addition to providing direct support to US farmers and safety net and nutrition assistance programs for US families and communities, it is also the nation’s largest source of federal funding for private lands conservation and is integral to rural energy and development, forest restoration and conservation, and agricultural research.

Each farm bill has a unique title, and the current farm bill is called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It was enacted into law in December 2018 and expires in 2023. Efforts are ongoing to pass the 2023 Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill has twelve titles: 

  • Commodities covers price and income support for the farmers also includes agricultural disaster assistance; 
  • Conservation help farmers implement natural resource conservation efforts on working lands like pasture and cropland as well as land retirement and easement programs;  
  • Trade covers food export subsidy programs and international food aid programs; 
  • Nutrition covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP] (formerly known as food stamps to help low-income Americans afford food for their families; 
  • Credit addresses  federal loan programs to help farmers; 
  • Rural Development covers programs that help foster rural economic growth through rural business and community development (including farm businesses) as well as rural housing, and infrastructure;
  • Research, Extension, and Related Matters covers farm and food research, education, and extension programs designed to support innovation, from federal labs and state university-affiliated research to vital training for the next generation of farmers and ranchers;
  • Forestry covers forest-specific conservation programs that help farmers and rural communities to be stewards of forest resources;
  • Energy covers programs that encourage growing and processing crops for biofuel, help farmers, ranchers and business owners install renewable energy systems, and support research related to energy;
  • Horticulture covers farmers market and local food programs, funding for research and infrastructure for fruits, vegetables and other horticultural crops, and organic farming and certification programs;
  • Crop Insurance provides premium subsidies to farmers and subsidies to the private crop insurance companies who provide federal crop insurance to farmers to protect against losses in yield, crop revenue, or whole farm revenue. The title also provides USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) with the authority to research, develop, and modify insurance policies;
  • Miscellaneous is a bit of a catch-all.  The current title brings together six advocacy and outreach areas, including beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers, agricultural labor safety and workforce development, and livestock health.


  • The United States and the world are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis with one million species facing extinction, and on our current trajectory of habitat loss and climate change, scientists project that nearly 40% of all species will face extinction by the end of this century. 
  • While these trends are deeply concerning for the well-being of our planet’s wildlife, they also directly impact the health, economy, security, and well-being of human communities everywhere. 
  • The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) adopted by COP 15 represents the most ambitious global agreement on biodiversity in the history of environmental governance and will serve as the world's framework for actions taken at all levels to safeguard and restore biodiversity under 23 targets to be achieved by 2030 and towards four long-term goals for 2050. The United States is not a party to the Convention on Biodiversity and, along with The Vatican, is one of two parties that did not sign the GBF.
  • A global target to protect 30% of the planet for nature by 2030 (known as ‘30x30’) is included in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and was agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at COP15. 
  • Countries are expected to contribute to this global goal through domestic action to increase coverage of effectively managed protected areas. More than 100 countries have now signed up to the commitment.
  • The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) has been designed to mobilize and accelerate investment in the conservation and sustainability of wild species and ecosystems, whose health is under threat from wildfires, flooding, extreme weather, and human activity including urban sprawl, in order to build a nature positive world.