Agricultural mitigation of greenhouse gases: Science and policy options
Hatfield, Jerry L.
McCarl, Bruce A.
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The focus of a forthcoming Council on Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) report is to summarize and synthesize the most recent research on the potential to mitigate GHG emissions through improvements in agricultural and land management practices. The report is designed to inform policy and decision makers in government and industry, agricultural producers, environmental and other nongovernmental organizations, and the general public. A major objective of the report has been to bring together biophysical and ecological information with economics and policy analysis, to provide a clearer picture of the potential role of agriculture in GHG mitigation strategies. In addition, a major aim has been to address all three major greenhouse gases and to consider the potential tradeoffs and/or synergisms between practices aimed at carbon sequestration and mitigation of N2O and CH4 emissions, in order to understand the net effect of all three gases (CO2, N2O and CH4), which can be expressed as an aggregate global warming potential (GWP) value. It is hoped that this synthesis will inform the debate on GHG mitigation in ongoing national and international efforts to deal with global climate change. This paper presents a brief synopsis of some of the findings of the CAST report.