Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Climate Change: The Role of the U.S. Agriculture Sector and Congressional Action

This report by the Congressional Research Service (7-5700) dated June 19, 2009 finds that the agriculture sector is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which many scientists agree are contributing to observed climate change and that agriculture is also a “sink” for sequestering carbon, which might offset GHG emissions by capturing and storing carbon in agricultural soils.

Congress is currently considering a range of climate change policy options, including GHG emission reduction programs that would either mandate or authorize a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions. In general, the current legislative proposals would not require emission reductions in the agriculture and forestry sectors. However, several GHG proposals would allow farmers and landowners to receive emissions allowances (or credits) and/or generate carbon offsets, which could be sold to facilities covered by a cap-and-trade program.

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