Matt Cover
January 21, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is teaching farmers how to participate in “carbon markets” despite the fact that such markets do not exist and Congress – in rejecting cap and trade legislation last year – has refused to create them.

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan made the admission at the WorldWatch Institute’s 2011 State of World Symposium Wednesday, saying that one of the ways USDA was dealing with climate change was to teach American farmers how to participate in “carbon markets,” the technical term for a cap and trade program.

“[USDA] will show farmers clearly and directly how they can benefit from participating in carbon markets,” Merrigan said. “It’s got to go from the drawing board to the boardroom.”

A carbon market is the technical term for what is commonly known as a cap and trade program, a program where businesses – including farms – are forced to trade carbon allowances or credits on the market, effectively putting a price on emitting carbon dioxide.

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