A new report by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has identified agriculture as a major pillar in responding to global climate change.
The report, released on June 30th and titled “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America,” identifies 12 pillars the Select Committee feels should form the framework for Congressional action on climate change.
A 2019 report by the United Nations identified agriculture as responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Due to practices like tillage, heavy machinery, and fossil-fuel based fertilizers, conventional agriculture is particularly harmful to the climate.
However, regenerative organic agriculture has the ability to sequester carbon in the soil and release 40% fewer carbon emissions than conventional farming systems. Switching to an agricultural system that reduces tillage, utilizes cover crops and crop rotation to build up soil health, and integrates rotational grazing, all major components of regenerative organic, can “reduce emissions, enhance carbon sequestration, and make soils more resilient to extreme weather,” according to the report.
Here are some of the key policy recommendations surrounding agriculture and climate change.
- Increase investments to support America’s farmers and ranchers to employ climate stewardship practices
- Expanded Farm Bill funding and technical assistance
- Set Congressional climate stewardship practice goals across U.S. farmland to increase federal capacity
- Embed climate mitigation and adaptation into programs for new, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
- Incentivize farmers and ranchers to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy on-farm
- Support local and regional food systems and combat food waste
Other pillars of the climate plan include building a fairer economy through greater investment in America’s workforce, cutting pollution and advancing environmental justice in disproportionately exposed communities, and investing in American infrastructure for climate solutions.
Read the full report here.