A newly introduced bill to the floor of the United States Senate seeks to generate additional income for the country’s farmers, ranchers and landowners by issuing carbon credits on a larger scale.
If passed, the Growing Climate Solutions Act would establish protocols for members of the agricultural and forestry sector to receive credits for practices that sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as reforestation.
Additionally, the bill directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide technical expertise on these projects and facilitate access to the carbon trading markets for members of the sector
The legislation is a rare bipartisan effort to address one of the issues contributing to climate change, while providing a new source of revenue for farmers, ranchers and landowners, many of whom have been impacted by U.S. trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The introduction of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which was put in place to cut down on emissions from international flights, is predicted to increase demand for carbon credits when it comes into force in 2021.
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The proposed bill has been welcomed by a number of organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, and large foodservice companies, such as McDonald’s.
However, many sustainable agriculture organizations have criticized the bill for favoring larger agricultural businesses over smaller ones, as they are more likely to have the capital and resources to invest in these projects.
Other detractors of the legislation have said that the bill does not go far enough on cutting back on greenhouse gases and would essentially commodify pollution.