Banking on Carbon: Policy Considerations for Carbon Payments and Sequestration in Agriculture

The climate is changing at a quickening pace as a direct result of human activities. Our actions cause increasing amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases that trap solar energy, driving increasingly severe and frequent heat waves, droughts and strong storms.

Agriculture contributes a relatively small portion of overall US greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing agricultural emissions will be beneficial, but the greater opportunity to use agriculture to mitigate climate change lies in the potential of agricultural soils to pull carbon out of the air, reducing greenhouse gas levels and gaining time to reduce overall emissions.

Current agricultural recommendations to reduce global warming are to farm with no-till techniques, plant trees, reduce fertilizer use, and capture methane at confinement livestock operations. More and better approaches can greatly increase the carbon captured and emissions reduced. Most of these enhanced practices also allow farm and ranch land to better withstand effects of global warming.