Cap and Trade Briefing on Capitol Hill: Agriculture Could Provide Carbon Offsets for Other Industries

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Cornell University Professors Antonio Bento and David Wolfe will present two briefings on Capitol Hill about cap and trade, “The Role of Agriculture and Forestry in Emerging Carbon Markets.” The first briefing will be Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, 2261 Rayburn House Office Building at 3 p.m., and the second briefing will be Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, 328-A Russell Senate Office Building at 3 p.m.

Wolfe and Bento say that the agriculture and forestry industries are unique in that land managers can do more than reduce their own emissions of key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

Cornell University Professors Antonio Bento and David Wolfe will present two briefings on Capitol Hill about cap and trade, “The Role of Agriculture and Forestry in Emerging Carbon Markets.” The first briefing will be Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, 2261 Rayburn House Office Building at 3 p.m., and the second briefing will be Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, 328-A Russell Senate Office Building at 3 p.m.

Wolfe and Bento say that the agriculture and forestry industries are unique in that land managers can do more than reduce their own emissions of key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. They can adopt plant, soil and livestock management practices that will sequester additional carbon and/or replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources – such as energy from biomass, manure and methane capture – thus becoming part of the solution and providing carbon offsets for other sectors.

In their Congressional briefings to the House and Senate, Bento and Wolfe will suggest that carbon offset revenues could be used to provide incentives for best management practices and also be used to buffer farmers and other land managers from rising fossil fuel costs that may arise from new energy and carbon policies.

However, there are significant challenges to agriculture and forestry entering the carbon marketplace. The cost of verification on a site-by-site basis – like detailed soil sampling and analysis – will lead to high transaction costs, and it is difficult to ensure the permanence of carbon sequestration for an individual small land holding. Bento and Wolfe will discuss several alternatives to meet these challenges and suggest that implementation, monitoring, and oversight at a larger geographic scale could be more reliable and cost-effective (using remote sensing, simulation modeling, and strategic soil sampling) than at the scale of the individual farm or woodlot.

WHAT: Briefing on Cap and Trade: “The Role of Agriculture and Forestry in Emerging Carbon Markets”

WHO: Cornell University Professors Antonio Bento and David Wolfe

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, 2261 Rayburn HOB at 3 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, 328-A Russell SOB at 3 p.m.

NOTE: Media are welcome to attend either of these Capitol Hill briefings. To reach either Antonio Bento or David Wolfe, please contact Blaine Friedlander, Cornell Press Relations Office at (607) 254-8093.

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
Phone: (607) 254-8093

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