Policy ForumClimate Change

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in U.S. Agriculture and Forestry

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Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2481-2482
DOI: 10.1126/science.1064193

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Greenhouse gas mitigation possibilities in the agricultural and forest sector represent a complex system of interlinked strategies. To assess their true economic implementation potential, major mitigation strategies are simultaneously examined with a U.S. agricultural sector model over a large range of hypothetical carbon prices. Soil carbon sequestration through reduced tillage appears most attractive for relatively low carbon prices. Afforestation and biofuel generation, however, dominate at higher price levels. For politically feasible prices, the competitive economic contribution of all major strategies is greatly below their technical potential. However, positive environmental and social coeffects may increase the importance of agricultural mitigation policies.