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The Dynamic Competitiveness of U.S. Agricultural and Forest Carbon Sequestration


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Global society is moving towards action to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This can be expensive and socially disruptive in countries like the United States where the vast majority of emissions arise from electrical energy generation and petroleum usage. Agricultural and forest carbon sequestration along with development of other greenhouse gas offsets may help hold costs and disruption down. However sequestration exhibits saturation and non permanence that may influence this role. We examine the dynamic role that the agricultural and forest sectors can play in emissions offsets and mitigation. A 100 year modeling analysis, depicting U.S. agricultural and forest sectoral activities is applied to simulate agricultural and forestry potential mitigation response. The results reveal that agriculture and forestry can play an important role principally through cropland soil sequestration, afforestation and biofuel provision. However the importance of these strategies varies with price and time. At low carbon prices and in the near term agricultural soils are most important in the longer term and at high prices powerplant feedstock biofuels dominate. Ignoring saturation leads to an overstatement of the potential importance of sequestration strategies. Nevertheless the results show that the agricultural and forest sectors may serve as an important bridge to the future helping to hold costs down until energy emissions related technology develops.

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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 20044.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision: Nov 2003
Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20044

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Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
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Keywords: climate change mitigation; saturation; carbon sequestration;

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  1. Schneider, Uwe A. & Kumar, Pushpam, 2008. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation through Agriculture," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 23(1).
  2. Alig, Ralph J. & Adams, Darius M. & McCarl, Bruce A., 1998. "Impacts Of Incorporating Land Exchanges Between Forestry And Agriculture In Sector Models," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(02), December.
  3. Darius M. Adams & Ralph J. Alig & DBruce A. McCarl & John M. Callaway & Steven M. Winnett, 1999. "Minimum Cost Strategies for Sequestering Carbon in Forests," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(3), pages 360-374.
  4. McCarl, Bruce A. & Schneider, Uwe A., 1999. "Curbing Greenhouse Gases: Agriculture's Role," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 14(1).
  5. Antle, John M. & Capalbo, Susan M. & Mooney, Sian & Elliott, Edward T. & Paustian, Keith H., 2001. "Economic Analysis Of Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration: An Integrated Assessment Approach," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(02), December.
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Cited by:
  1. van der Werf, Edwin & Peterson, Sonja, 2009. "Modeling linkages between climate policy and land use: An overview," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 32535, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  2. Gulati, Sumeet & Vercammen, James, 2005. "The Optimal Length Of An Agricultural Carbon Contract," Working Papers 15843, University of British Columbia, Food and Resource Economics.
  3. Uwe A. Schneider & Michael Obersteiner & Erwin Schmid & Bruce A. McCarl, 2007. "Agricultural adaptation to climate policies under technical change," Working Papers FNU-133, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jan 2008.


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