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Air Emissions of Ammonia and Methane from Livestock Operations: Valuation and Policy Options


  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Palmer, Karen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Shih, Jhih-Shyang

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Siikamäki, Juha

    () (Resources for the Future)


The animal husbandry industry is a major emitter of methane, which is an important greenhouse gas. The industry is also a major emitter of ammonia, which is a precursor of fine particulate matter—arguably, the number-one environment-related public health threat facing the nation. We present an integrated process model of the engineering economics of technologies to reduce methane and ammonia emissions at dairy operations in California. Three policy options are explored: greenhouse gas offset credits for methane control, particulate matter offset credits for ammonia control, and expanded net metering policies to provide revenue for the sale of electricity generated from captured methane gas. Individually, any of these policies appears to be sufficient to provide the economic incentive for farm operators to reduce emissions. We report on initial steps to fully develop the integrated process model that will provide guidance for policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Siikamäki, Juha, 2006. "Air Emissions of Ammonia and Methane from Livestock Operations: Valuation and Policy Options," Discussion Papers dp-06-11, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krupnick, Alan & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Bergin, S. & Russell, Armistead, 2004. "Source-Receptor Relationships for Ozone and Fine Particulates in the Eastern United States," Discussion Papers dp-04-25, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leuer, Elizabeth R. & Hyde, Jeffrey & Richard, Tom L., 2008. "Investing in Methane Digesters on Pennsylvania Dairy Farms: Implication of Scale Economies and Environmental Programs," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 37(2), October.
    2. Binkley, David & Harsh, Stephen & Wolf, Christopher A. & Safferman, Steven & Kirk, Dana, 2013. "Electricity purchase agreements and distributed energy policies for anaerobic digesters," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 341-352.
    3. Fiala, Nathan, 2008. "Meeting the demand: An estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from meat production," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 412-419, October.
    4. Joseph E. Aldy & Alan J. Krupnick & Richard G. Newell & Ian W. H. Parry & William A. Pizer, 2010. "Designing Climate Mitigation Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 903-934, December.
    5. Li, Shanjun & Yoo, Han Kyul & Macauley, Molly & Palmer, Karen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2015. "Assessing the role of renewable energy policies in landfill gas to energy projects," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 687-697.
    6. Chad Lawley & Hartley Furtan, 2008. "The Political Trade-Off Between Environmental Stringency And Economic Development In Rural America," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 547-566.

    More about this item


    methane; ammonia; carbon dioxide; greenhouse gases; climate change; offset; particulate matter; net metering; environmental policy; CAFO; manure management; biodigester; electricity; global warming; cost-benefit; incentive approach;

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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