April League Day

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April 3, 2014
Women’s City Club

Where Should the League Stand on Agriculture?

Agricultural subsidies, animal management, food safety and labeling are just four of the topics we will be discussing at the April 3, 2014, League Day. As we sit around the tables, we will be participating in a League tradition of study, member discussion and consensus, which will lead to the formation of an updated Agriculture Position. The LWVUS already has a position on agriculture but it makes no mention of the important topics of food safety or labeling. In addition, farming practices have changed greatly since the original position was written in 1986.

We will begin with an informative presentation by Long Beach LWV members Kimberly Ritter and Phyllis O’Connor, covering topics such as genetically modified organisms, antibiotics in animal production, current farming practices, and the consolidation of the agricultural industry. In addition, we will look at the hot topics of food safety and labeling. The presentation will be followed by small group discussions of questions formulated by the LWVUS Agriculture Update Committee. Input from League members is sought and needed so that any new position will be a grassroots reflection of member values.

Would you like to see the LWVUS advocating on the issues of food safety and food labeling? Would you like the voice of League members heard on good farming practices such as water conservation and reduction, and controlling the use of antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides? Would you like to see more support for local markets and small farmers?

Please join us on April 3 for what promises to be an informative and fun League Day on agriculture. Come voice your opinions but be prepared to listen to the opinions of others. In this process, we hope to find consensus.

 

Third Annual Climate Change Forum

 

climate change

On March 29 at All Saints Church in Pasadena, the League of Women Voters hosted the third annual climate change forum: “The Local Effects of Climate Change and Actions to Minimize its Effects.” Jim Waterhouse, Daniel Walton, and Jonathan Parfrey spoke with a crowd of about 50 people.

Jim Waterhouse gave a Climate Reality presentation summarizing the climate crisis and introduced CCL’s solution: a revenue neutral carbon tax. Daniel Walton summarized his study of climate change in the Los Angeles region. Downtown LA will be about 4°F warmer by 2050. Reducing CO2 emissions will reduce some of this warming but not all of it, so we still have to adapt to some warming. However, reducing CO2 emissions dramatically reduces the warming from 2050 to 2100.

In contrast, it’s not clear if precipitation in the Los Angeles region will increase or decrease because (1) precipitation naturally varies more than temperature and (2) we’re between regions which are expected to get wetter and drier. Jonathan Parfrey pointed out that this means Los Angeles could benefit by reclaiming more of the rainwater that’s currently being wasted because it drains to the ocean. Jonathan’s organization Climate Resolve also helps homeowners install cool roofs, which lower electric bills and could help cool Los Angeles by reducing its urban heat island effect.

During Q&A, there was a small controversy about whether CCL’s national carbon tax would be better than scaling up California’s current cap and trade system. Rob Haw presented CCL’s view, which is that either system can reduce CO2 emissions and they can co-exist, but most economists tend to favor a carbon tax. Also, a national policy has to pass the House of Representatives. Several prominent Republican economists (including Reagan’s economics adviser) have endorsed a carbon tax swap but none support cap and trade.