September 14, 2010
On Tuesday, September 7, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) released a briefing paper discussing the agricultural sector’s role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The brief outlines policy options for encouraging farmers to reduce their GHG emissions. These options include a federal cap-and-trade system to regulate the nationwide burning of fossil fuels; direct incentive payments to farmers who reduce their GHG emissions; and various policies to encourage farmers to generate renewable energy on their farms, either through installing wind or solar power generators, or growing the feedstocks used for biofuels. The brief also describes several actions that farmers can take to reduce their own GHG emissions, from changing their livestock feeds to switching to no-till practices.
The brief also details existing programs that encourage GHG emissions reduction, including the Conservation Reserve Program (read NSAC’s explanation of the program here) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (NSAC’s explanation here). The brief analyzes the effect these programs have had on reducing nationwide GHG emissions, and points to lessons that policy-makers can take from these existing programs to develop more effective and successful policy in the future.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment