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Rob Laubacher

Aug 8, 2011
11:46

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This is a very interesting proposal. Most agricultural subsidies at present are in advanced economies, and this is an important issue. A related, and also important issue, is to reduce energy subsidies in developing countries. This is an issue UNEP has identified in its green economy work, and it might be interesting to include it in this proposal.

Mike Matessa

Aug 24, 2011
12:20

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Some strong points are made in the What and Why sections. Could you expand on How agricultural subsidies could be removed? What political, educational, or media interventions could be used?

Rob Laubacher

Aug 26, 2011
05:57

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The more I think about this proposal, the more I like it. Would be very interested to see this fleshed out along several dimensions. - What would be the likely impact in terms of GHG emission reductions? - Would you envision that elimination of subsidies would encourage the development of more locally-based agriculture? Also curious about how the power agricultural subsidies' of beneficiaries of could be countered.

Travis Franck

Sep 10, 2011
06:51

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Agriculture could definitely have a important role to play in reducing global emissions. The proposal here makes emissions reductions hard to quantify. Also, I wonder about feasibility: 1. Ag policy killed the Doha WTO rounds. How is this feasible given that those talks still aren’t moving forward? 2. Domestically, US and EU ag interests are still very strong. 3. What are the exact mechanisms that would cause lower emissions? For instance, lower consumption is mentioned but I’m not sure why and how? 4. If higher prices is a mechanism (??) and passed to the consumer, how to deal with poverty and hunger than was caused by high corn prices in recent years.

Null Null

Sep 11, 2011
12:28

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Proposal
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I think the question around how to go about removing agricultural subsidies would have a local answer. French agricultural interests are structured differently from the US lobby. For example, in the US it would boil down to a 3 pronged approach: - Campaign finance reform: The US ag sector is highly consolidated, with a handful of behemoths controlling the majority of the sector. These companies can fund lobby groups that help undermine any legislation around the removal of ag subsidies. What was amazing was that in the recent debt debate, even when 'sacred cows' like defense were on the chopping block, neither side mentioned ag subsidies. - Having the primaries at the same time in all the states and not first in agricultural states. The importance of Iowa in the electoral process ensures that corn is never discussed in any context other than how to use more of it, bio-ethanol being a classic example. - A broad public education campaign from a climate group that raises this issue. Regarding subsidies in developing countries, including energy subsidies, a potential solution could be means driven buyer subsidies. @travisfranck - I think you raise a couple of fundamental and very challenging issues: - Global coordination: I think most countries would like to reduce reduce/eliminate ag subsidies but find it tough politically. The Doha round was killed by the developing countries and I think it would be important to have a multi-stage approach where developed countries that don't have the hunger/poverty issues take the lead - The benefit is as much about the reduction in consumption as it is about efficient distribution of production across regions and commodities. Why is a litre of coca-cola cheaper than a litre of water? In developing countries, this is a real question and significant health and environmental implications. - The money that is freed is from providing these subsidies can be used for research in a variety of ways including poverty alleviation and climate change initiatives. My thoughts triggered by the questions above - I do not profess to have the answers or for this to be easy.

Moderator Team

Oct 11, 2011
09:28

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Thanks for your hard work! Your proposal presented a simple solution to an important agricultural problem. However, reviewers were looking for more detail.
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