Agricultural Sector Analysis on Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation in the United States
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This dissertation analyzes the economic potential of agriculture to participate in greenhouse gas emission mitigation efforts. Major agricultural mitigation strategies are included simultaneously to capture interactions. Results indicate that agriculture's contribution to emission reduction may be substantial, but not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, which are estimated to be in the neighborhood of 700 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon equivalents by the year 2010. Even under extreme economic incentives, the annual emission reduction potential from U.S. agriculture does not exceed 300 MMT if including all carbon dioxide related strategies, or 400 MMT if also including carbon equivalent emission reductions of methane and nitrous oxide related strategies. Production of biomass feedstock for power plants, i.e. switch grass, becomes the dominating mitigation strategy for carbon saving incentives of $80 per ton of carbon equivalent and above. Lower incentives between $5 and $80 per metric ton of carbon equivalent lead to a complex mixture of various mitigation strategies involving reduced iv fertilization, tillage, and irrigation; increased afforestation; and improved liquid manure management. In addition to net emission reductions between 25 and 70 MMT of carbon equivalents, low carbon incentives involve substantial environmental gains through less erosion and less nitrogen pollution. Empirical results from this dissertation show the importance of accounting for interdependencies among mitigation strategies. The savings potential of mitigation strategies examined individually may be considerably higher than it is under a joint analysis. The findings also provide support for a new breed of combined environmental and farm policy, which would replace costly individual programs aimed at various environmental goals or to provide for fair farm incomes.
Schneider, Uwe A. (2000). Agricultural Sector Analysis on Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation in the United States. Available electronically from