Chapter 30: Agriculture
Michael B. Gerrard & John Dernbach, eds., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (Environmental Law Press, 2019)
51 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 18, 2019
This chapter examines the agricultural strategies, practices, and technologies available to increase soil carbon sequestration and reduce GHG emissions. It summarizes the research documenting the many agricultural practices that have been demonstrated to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration in soil, including cover cropping, more varied crop rotations, agroforestry and silvopasture (adding trees into cropping or grazing systems), perennial crops, prescribed rotational grazing, dry manure management, and others. It details pathways for amending existing federal and state legal regimes and enacting new ones, and recommends improving public agricultural research, development, and extension efforts; reforming federal subsidy and conservation pro- grams; and revising trade policy, tax policy, regulatory strategies, financing for carbon farming, grazing practices on government land, and GHG pricing. It also describes how the private and philanthropic sectors can stimulate carbon farming; strategies for reducing emissions that stem from farm inputs and that result from food processing, distribution, consumption, and waste; and the potential to encourage consumption of climate-friendly foods through national dietary guidelines, procurement at all levels of government, and private-sector initiatives such as certification schemes and healthier menu options. The chapter notes that many of the practices recommended to reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change also will make farms and ranches more resilient to extreme weather and often increase soil health, productivity, and profitability. There can thus be a confluence of interests supporting incentives for broader adoption of these practices.
Keywords: food law & policy, agricultural law, environmental law, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, farm bill, conservation, carbon sequestration, sustainable agriculture, carbon farming
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