National Farmer’s Union president Roger Johnson on why Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement will be bad for farmers.
When scientists gather to march for science, we want them to know about this body of research. In addition to carrying signs, they can take up the toolbox of effective communication known as the rhetorical tradition. Rhetoricians will be marching by their side, allies in the battle to protect science from politically motivated attacks on one of the greatest treasures of the nation.
With shifting political winds and poor commodity prices, farmers may now be willing to consider new ways of generating income by adopting environmentally friendly practices, such as planting cover crops, extending crop rotations or eliminating tillage. Many farmers are already using these practices on a small scale. To combat climate change and stabilize incomes, farmers should look to policy to tackle both in tandem.
The Obama administration White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released an intriguing report on how the United States can transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050 while continuing economic growth. The report gives a starring role in this job to agricultural lands.
“Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization” outlines a 3-pronged strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent while accelerating job-creating innovation. Calling each strategy “critical,” CEQ first lists the familiar call to transition to renewable and low carbon forms of energy.
The second key strategy, however, is less often discussed: the potential of cropland and grassland soils, as well as forests, to store and sequester hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 annually. The report – informed by decades of scientific research – describes the opportunities to explore in this area.
The contribution of animal-source foods to global warming cannot be ignored. But encouraging everyone to become vegetarian or even vegan isn’t the silver bullet solution envisioned by some. The direction we need to move in is different in the developed world than it is in the developing world.
If farmers are to mitigate methane emissions, they need to know where and under what conditions the emissions occur. And they need management options that have been proven to make a difference.
Environmental Defense Fund, thanks to a generous grant, is helping to quantify methane emissions from different management approaches. This work builds on EDF’s earlier efforts to develop good estimates of methane released through the energy sector.