Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today pressed for passage of climate legislation by the US before the world’s climate talks in December at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen. “We think it is important for the president to be empowered to be able to say to the rest of the world that America stands ready to lead on this issue,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said after an energy briefing at the White House. Reuters is reporting that Vilsack and Secretary Locke met with groups from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, advocating that passage would be good for the environment and economy. An Agriculture Department study shows farmers could boost their net income by $10 billion to $20 billion in the long term earning money from offsets– contracts to plant trees or change the way they till land to lock more carbon in soils, Vilsack said. Locke spoke on leadership by the US, vis-a-vis reluctance by some countries to set significant caps of emissions. “The United States needs to set a very firm and clear example if we are to be successful in getting the other countries to be equally aggressive in addressing climate change,” said Locke. The House of Representatives passed by a close margin the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) bill on June 26. The Senate is expected to consider and possibly debate its version of the legislation when it reconvenes in September.