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The Incentive to Beat Climate Change

June 1, 2015
On May 27th, Rick Duke, deputy director for climate change at the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, spoke on the important role that the agriculture industry will play in the coming years for reducing U.S. greenhouse emissions. By 2025, Duke stated that the industry itself could contribute a 2% cut in gas emissions and enhance carbon storage equivalent to about 120 million metric tons of CO2. Andrew Restuccia of PoliticoPro covered Dukes’ remarks:
“Obama’s objective is to cut emissions back about 26-28% below 2005 levels, in which the World Resources Institute outlined a path for the U.S. to achieve this goal.  The U.S. would have to go far beyond President Barack Obama's existing climate change agenda to meet the target.”

 Duke also commented that the report did not include agricultural emission cuts, possibly shedding a beacon of hope for slowing climate change.

In his recent address at the University of Michigan, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has already started providing initiatives to reduce these gas emissions by partnering with the USDA to create incentives to not only reduce greenhouse gasses, but to increase carbon sequestration and maximize the production of renewable fuels.

Through this initiative, USDA will use authorities provided in the 2014 Farm Bill to offer incentives and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners. USDA intends to pursue partnerships and leverage resources to conserve and enhance greenhouse gas sinks, reduce emissions, increase renewable energy and build resilience in agricultural and forest systems.

 Climate change is an uphill battle, but we have the technology to defeat it. Law makers should continue to address these key issues—and provide incentive to fix these problems, because innovative thinking always results in progress.

American farmers and ranchers are leaders when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency in their operations. That's why U.S. agricultural emissions are lower than the global average," said Vilsack. "We can build on this success in a way that combats climate change and strengthens the American agriculture economy. Through incentive-based initiatives, we can partner with producers to significantly reduce carbon emissions while improving yields, increasing farm operation's energy efficiency, and helping farmers and ranchers earn revenue from clean energy production.