IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/resene/v36y2014i1p83-98.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Mitigating climate change through afforestation: New cost estimates for the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Elberg Nielsen, Anne Sofie
  • Plantinga, Andrew J.
  • Alig, Ralph J.

Abstract

We provide new cost estimates for carbon sequestration through afforestation in the U.S. We extend existing studies of carbon sequestration costs in several important ways, while ensuring the transparency of our approach. Our costs estimates have five distinguishing features: (1) we estimate costs for each county in the contiguous U.S., (2) we include afforestation of rangeland, in addition to cropland and pasture, (3) our opportunity cost estimates account for capitalized returns to future development (including associated option values) in addition to returns to agricultural production, (4) we develop a new set of forest establishment costs for each county, and (5) we incorporate data on Holdridge life zones to limit afforestation in locations where temperature and moisture availability prohibit forest growth. We find that at a carbon price of $50/ton, approximately 200 million tons of carbon would be sequestered annually through afforestation. At a price of $100/ton, an additional 100 million tons of carbon would be sequestered each year. Our estimates closely match those in earlier econometric studies for relatively low carbon prices, but diverge at higher carbon prices. Our results indicate a smaller, but still important, role for forest-based carbon sequestration in offsetting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Elberg Nielsen, Anne Sofie & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Alig, Ralph J., 2014. "Mitigating climate change through afforestation: New cost estimates for the United States," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 83-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:36:y:2014:i:1:p:83-98
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2013.11.001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0928765513000766
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Plantinga, Andrew J. & Lubowski, Ruben N. & Stavins, Robert N., 2002. "The effects of potential land development on agricultural land prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 561-581, November.
    2. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Stavins, Robert N., 2006. "Land-use change and carbon sinks: Econometric estimation of the carbon sequestration supply function," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 135-152, March.
    3. Mason, Charles F. & Plantinga, Andrew J., 2013. "The additionality problem with offsets: Optimal contracts for carbon sequestration in forests," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-14.
    4. Douglas J. Miller, 1999. "An Econometric Analysis of the Costs of Sequestering Carbon in Forests," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 812-824.
    5. Horowitz, John K. & Just, Richard E., 2013. "Economics of additionality for environmental services from agriculture," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 105-122.
    6. 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.
    7. Schatzki, Todd, 2003. "Options, uncertainty and sunk costs:: an empirical analysis of land use change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 86-105, July.
    8. Andrew J. Plantinga & JunJie Wu, 2003. "Co-Benefits from Carbon Sequestration in Forests: Evaluating Reductions in Agricultural Externalities from an Afforestation Policy in Wisconsin," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(1), pages 74-85.
    9. Ralph Alig & Darius Adams & Bruce McCarl & J. Callaway & Steven Winnett, 1997. "Assessing effects of mitigation strategies for global climate change with an intertemporal model of the U.S. forest and agriculture sectors," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(3), pages 259-274, April.
    10. RICHARD M. Adams & DARIUS M. Adams & JOHN M. Callaway & CHING‐CHENG Chang & BRUCE A. Mccarl, 1993. "Sequestering Carbon On Agricultural Land: Social Cost And Impacts On Timber Markets," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(1), pages 76-87, January.
    11. Latta, Gregory & Adams, Darius M. & Alig, Ralph J. & White, Eric, 2011. "Simulated effects of mandatory versus voluntary participation in private forest carbon offset markets in the United States," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 127-141, April.
    12. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Sabina Lee Shaikh & Pavel Suchánek, 2002. "Mitigating Climate Change by Planting Trees: The Transaction Costs Trap," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 559-572.
    13. Robert N. Stavins, 1999. "The Costs of Carbon Sequestration: A Revealed-Preference Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 994-1009, September.
    14. Matthews, Stephen & O'Connor, Raymond & Plantinga, Andrew J., 2002. "Quantifying the impacts on biodiversity of policies for carbon sequestration in forests," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 71-87, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Eriksson, Mathilda, 2020. "Afforestation and avoided deforestation in a multi-regional integrated assessment model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    2. Andrea Baranzini & Nicolas Borzykowski & Stefano Carattini, 2016. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? The acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes," GRI Working Papers 257, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    3. Baranzini, Andrea & Borzykowski, Nicolas & Carattini, Stefano, 2018. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? Acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes in the lab," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-12.
    4. Grundy, Michael J. & Bryan, Brett A. & Nolan, Martin & Battaglia, Michael & Hatfield-Dodds, Steve & Connor, Jeffery D. & Keating, Brian A., 2016. "Scenarios for Australian agricultural production and land use to 2050," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 70-83.
    5. Postic, Sebastien & Selosse, Sandrine & Maïzi, Nadia, 2017. "Energy contribution to Latin American INDCs: Analyzing sub-regional trends with a TIMES model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 170-184.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Yemshanov, Denys & McCarney, Geoffrey R. & Hauer, Grant & Luckert, M.K. (Marty) & Unterschultz, Jim & McKenney, Daniel W., 2015. "A real options-net present value approach to assessing land use change: A case study of afforestation in Canada," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 327-336.
    2. Kim, Taeyoung & Langpap, Christian, 2016. "Agricultural landowners’ response to incentives for afforestation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 93-111.
    3. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Sohngen, Brent, 2007. "Economics of Forest Ecosystem Carbon Sinks: A Review," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 237-269, September.
    4. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Stavins, Robert N., 2006. "Land-use change and carbon sinks: Econometric estimation of the carbon sequestration supply function," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 135-152, March.
    5. Jung, Martina, 2003. "The Role of Forestry Sinks in the CDM - Analysing the Effects of Policy Decisions on the Carbon Market," Discussion Paper Series 26293, Hamburg Institute of International Economics.
    6. Andrew J. Plantinga & JunJie Wu, 2003. "Co-Benefits from Carbon Sequestration in Forests: Evaluating Reductions in Agricultural Externalities from an Afforestation Policy in Wisconsin," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(1), pages 74-85.
    7. Dumortier, Jerome Robert Florian, 2011. "The impact of forest offset credits under a stochastic carbon price on agriculture using a rational expectations and real options framework," ISU General Staff Papers 201101010800001160, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    8. Adetoye, Ayoade Matthew & Okojie, Luke O. & Akerele, Dare, 2018. "Forest carbon sequestration supply function for African countries: An econometric modelling approach," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 59-66.
    9. Li, Man & Wu, JunJie & Deng, Xiangzheng, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Land-use Change and Soil Carbon Sequestration Cost in China," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49568, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Stavins, Robert & Plantinga, Andrew & Lubowski, Ruben, 2005. "Land-Use Change and Carbon Sinks," Discussion Papers dp-05-04, Resources For the Future.
    11. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Eagle, Alison J. & Manley, James G. & Smolak, Tara M., 2004. "How Costly Are Carbon Offsets? A Meta-Analysis Of Carbon Forest Sinks," Working Papers 18166, University of Victoria, Resource Economics and Policy.
    12. Latta, Gregory & Adams, Darius M. & Alig, Ralph J. & White, Eric, 2011. "Simulated effects of mandatory versus voluntary participation in private forest carbon offset markets in the United States," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 127-141, April.
    13. Renato Rosa & Clara Costa Duarte & Maria A. Cunha-e-Sá, 2009. "The Role of Forests as Carbon Sinks: Land-Use and Carbon Accounting," Working Papers 2009.61, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    14. Favero, Alice & Mendelsohn, Robert & Sohngen, Brent, 2016. "Carbon Storage and Bioenergy: Using Forests for Climate Mitigation," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 232215, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    15. Latta, Gregory S. & Adams, Darius M. & Bell, Kathleen P. & Kline, Jeffrey D., 2016. "Evaluating land-use and private forest management responses to a potential forest carbon offset sales program in western Oregon (USA)," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-8.
    16. Markowski-Lindsay, Marla & Stevens, Thomas & Kittredge, David B. & Butler, Brett J. & Catanzaro, Paul & Dickinson, Brenton J., 2011. "Barriers to Massachusetts forest landowner participation in carbon markets," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 180-190.
    17. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Susanna Laaksonen-Craig & Yichuan Wang, 2007. "Costs of Creating Carbon Offset Credits via Forestry Activities: A Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers 2007-03, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
    18. Edwin Van Der Werf & Sonja Peterson, 2009. "Modeling linkages between climate policy and land use: an overview," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(5), pages 507-517, September.
    19. Kim, Man-Keun & Peralta, Denis & McCarl, Bruce A., 2014. "Land-based greenhouse gas emission offset and leakage discounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 265-273.
    20. Ruben N. Lubowski & Andrew J. Plantinga & Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "What Drives Land-Use Change in the United States? A National Analysis of Landowner Decisions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(4), pages 529-550.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon sequestration; Afforestation; Cost estimates;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:36:y:2014:i:1:p:83-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nithya Sathishkumar). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505569 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.