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Climate 2017, 5(3), 69; doi:10.3390/cli5030069

Near-Term Pathways for Achieving Forest and Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in the U.S.

1
Department of Public Administration, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Energy Initiative and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Bruce McCarl
Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Agriculture)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [661 KB, uploaded 1 September 2017]   |  

Abstract

U.S. forests and agriculture present unique opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. U.S. forests currently remove a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year and store it as a terrestrial carbon sink, a trend that is projected to continue, although at a decreasing rate over time. Agriculture is and will continue to be a net source of GHGs. To encourage additional mitigation, analyses suggest addressing forest loss, forest aging, wildfire, and encouraging greater forest growth. In agriculture, analyses suggest addressing animal operation methane emissions and nitrous oxide from fertilizer use. Absent new targeted policies to encourage mitigation practices such as these, existing programs may need to be better leveraged for GHG mitigation, even if that is not their explicit objective. Leveraging existing programs requires coordinated outreach efforts to ensure that practices are not cross-purposed. Development of standards and verification practices is also necessary to ensure desirable outcomes. Finally, greater mitigation may be possible by maximizing the effectiveness of voluntary efforts from private and non-governmental organizations, and not necessarily the implementation of new policies. This conclusion represents a departure from traditional commentary on the subject, but arguably represents a more realistic path forward to achieving climate mitigation objectives in the near-term. View Full-Text
Keywords: greenhouse gas mitigation; agriculture; forestry; climate policy; United States greenhouse gas mitigation; agriculture; forestry; climate policy; United States
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Galik, C.S.; Murray, B.C.; Parish, M.C. Near-Term Pathways for Achieving Forest and Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in the U.S.. Climate 2017, 5, 69.

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