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Greenhouse Gas and Nitrogen Fertilizer Scenarios for U.S. Agriculture and Global Biofuels



This analysis uses the 2011 FAPRI-CARD (Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute–Center for Agricultural and Rural Development) baseline to evaluate the impact of four alternative scenarios on U.S. and world agricultural markets, as well as on world fertilizer use and world agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. A key assumption in the 2011 baseline is that ethanol support policies disappear in 2012. The baseline also assumes that existing biofuel mandates remain in place and are binding. Two of the scenarios are adverse supply shocks, the first being a 10% increase in the price of nitrogen fertilizer in the United States, and the second, a reversion of cropland into forestland. The third scenario examines how lower energy prices would impact world agriculture. The fourth scenario reintroduces biofuel tax credits and duties. Given that the baseline excludes these policies, the fourth scenario is an attempt to understand the impact of these policies under the market conditions that prevail in early 2011. A key to understanding the results of this fourth scenario is that in the absence of tax credits and duties, the mandate drives biofuel use. Therefore, when the tax credits and duties are reintroduced, the impacts are relatively small. In general, the results show that the entire international commodity market system is remarkably robust with respect to policy changes in one country or in one sector. The policy implication is that domestic policy changes implemented by a large agricultural producer like the United States can have fairly significant impacts on the aggregate world commodity markets. A second point that emerges from the results is that the law of unintended consequences is at work in world agriculture. For example, a U.S. nitrogen tax that might presumably be motivated for environmental benefit results in an increase in world greenhouse gas emissions. A similar situation occurs in the afforestation scenario in which crop production shifts from high-yielding land in the United States to low-yielding land and probably native vegetation in the rest of the world, resulting in an unintended increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Amani Elobeid & Miguel Carriquiry & Jacinto F. Fabiosa & Kranti Mulik & Dermot J. Hayes & Bruce A. Babcock & Jerome Dumortier & Francisco Rosas, 2011. "Greenhouse Gas and Nitrogen Fertilizer Scenarios for U.S. Agriculture and Global Biofuels," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 11-wp524, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:fpaper:11-wp524

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meilke, Karl D. & McClatchy, Don & Gorter, Harry de, 1996. "Challenges in quantitative economic analysis in support of multilateral trade negotiations," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 185-200, August.
    2. John C. Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau, 2017. "Quantitative Policy Analysis Of Sanitary, Phytosanitary And Technical Barriers To Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 3, pages 39-62 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Hart, Chad E. & Babcock, Bruce A., 2002. "U.S. Farm Policy and the WTO: How Do They Match Up?," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 3(1).
    4. Michael D. Helmar & William H. Meyers & Dermot J. Hayes, 1993. "GATT and CAP Reform: Different, Similar, or Redundant?," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 93-gatt4, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    5. Hertel, Thomas, 1997. "Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and applications," GTAP Books, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, number 7685.
    6. Richard E. Just, 2001. "Addressing the Changing Nature of Uncertainty in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1131-1153.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wise, Marshall & Dooley, James & Luckow, Patrick & Calvin, Katherine & Kyle, Page, 2014. "Agriculture, land use, energy and carbon emission impacts of global biofuel mandates to mid-century," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 763-773.
    2. Sohngen, Brent & King, Kevin W. & Howard, Gregory & Newton, John & Forster, D. Lynn, 2015. "Nutrient prices and concentrations in Midwestern agricultural watersheds," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 141-149.
    3. Miguel Carriquiry & Amani Elobeid & Ryan Goodrich, 2016. "Comparing the trends and strength of determinants to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in consideration of biofuel policies in Brazil and the United States," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 16-12, Instituto de Economía - IECON.


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