The Dynamic Competitiveness of U.S. Agricultural and Forest Carbon Sequestration
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Society is increasingly turning attention toward greenhouse gas emission control with for example the Kyoto Protocol has entered into force. Since many of the emissions come from energy use, high cost strategies might be required until new technological developments reduce fossil fuel dependency or increase energy utilization efficiency. On the other hand biologically based strategies may be used to offset energy related emissions. Agricultural soil and forestry are among the largest carbon reservoirs on the planet; therefore, agricultural and forest activities may help to reduce the costs of greenhouse gas emission mitigation. However, sequestration exhibits permanence related characteristics that may influence this role. We examine the dynamic role of carbon sequestration in the agricultural and forest sectors can play in mitigation. A 100-year mathematical programming model, depicting U.S. agricultural and forest sectoral activities including land transfers and greenhouse gas consequences is applied to simulate potential mitigation response. The results show that at low cost and in the near term agricultural soil and forest management are dominant sectoral responses. At higher prices and in the longer term biofuels and afforestation take over. Our results reveal that the agricultural and forest sector carbon sequestration may serve as an important bridge to the future helping to hold costs down until energy emissions related technology develops.
author list (cited authors)
Lee, H., McCarl, B. A., & Gillig, D.