`Proposed Bill Gives U.S. Agricultural Sector Easier Access to Emissions Trading


Proposed Bill Gives U.S. Agricultural Sector Easier Access to Emissions Trading

Jun. 30, 2020
Lisa Anderson

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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.

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.

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