US Bets On Climate-Friendly Farming; Experts Doubt It Is Friendly Enough

"WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden's administration is offering farmers money for adopting practices that store carbon in the soil to fight climate change, but Reuters interviews with soil science experts and a review of U.S. Department of Agriculture research indicate doubt that the approach will be effective.

Farm practices like planting cover crops and reducing farmland tilling are key to the USDA's plan for slashing agriculture's 10% contribution to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions as the U.S. pursues net-zero by 2050. Ethanol producers also hope those practices will help them secure lucrative tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) passed in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

But the farming techniques, which will receive an extra funding boost from Biden's signature climate law, may not permanently sequester much atmospheric carbon in the soil, according to five soil scientists and researchers who spoke to Reuters about the current science.

Four other soil scientists, and the USDA, said the practices can store various amounts of soil carbon, but circumstances will dictate how much and for how long."

Leah Douglas reports for Reuters April 11, 2024.

Source: Reuters, 04/15/2024