Resources and the Environment
Climate Change and Agriculture: Impacts and Mitigation
Brent Sohngen, Guest Editor
Brent Sohngen and Bruce A. McCarl
Agriculture and forestry in the United States face pressures from the eventual effects of climate change and from efforts to control greenhouse gasses. This set of papers looks at the economic consequences from both pressures.
Across several projections of climate change in the coming century, total food production in the United States is not found to be at risk. Some regions, however, could experience declining production and profitability due to unfavorable climate, water availability, ecological pressures, or extreme weather events.
Ralph Alig, Darius Adams, Linda Joyce, and Brent Sohngen
Total US forestry production is estimated to increase over the next century under several climate change projections. Consumers would likely benefit from lower prices, although profitability in the industry could decline. Regional shifts could well occur, with the Southern US forest industry appearing most susceptible.
Brian C. Murray
US agriculture and forestry can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions reaching up to 40% in a model analysis. Conservation tillage, forest management, afforestation, and bio-energy crop production are the most economic options, but their role depends on the value of offsets.
Hongli Feng, Catherine L. Kling, and Philip W. Gassman
Land retirement and other agricultural conservation actions contribute greenhouse gas offsets and water quality improvements and reduce erosion and nitrogen runoff. Shifting the programmatic focus to carbon would enhance C sequestration and reduce nitrogen runoff, but would likely increase erosion.
Levan Elbakidze and Bruce A. McCarl
Water quality and other co-benefits arise from greenhouse gas reduction efforts in agriculture, but there are tradeoffs with energy sector emissions. Greenhouse gas reductions by power plants also improve human health. Policy based on balancing benefits and costs must account for the co-effects in both the agriculture and energy sectors.
Tanveer A. Butt and Bruce A. McCarl
Selling carbon is a potential future source of income for farmers and foresters. Currently, however, policies are not in place to provide substantial incentives—except for a lucky few.