US Climate Friendly Farming Is Not Climate Friendly As It Claims: Experts

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » US Climate Friendly Farming Is Not Climate Friendly As It Claims: Experts

 

President Joe Biden’s administration has been promoting climate-friendly farming practices, offering financial incentives to farmers to adopt methods that purportedly store carbon in the soil as part of the effort to combat climate change. However, interviews conducted by Reuters with soil science experts, as well as a review of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research, cast doubt on the efficacy of this approach.

Climate friendly farming

Questioning the Effectiveness of Farming Techniques

The USDA’s plan to reduce agriculture’s 10% contribution to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions hinges on practices like planting cover crops and reducing farmland tilling. These techniques are seen as pivotal in achieving the nation’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Moreover, ethanol producers are eyeing these practices as a means to qualify for tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel, as outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, despite the optimism surrounding these climate-friendly farming techniques, soil scientists and researchers remain sceptical. According to five experts interviewed by Reuters, the current scientific evidence does not support the notion that these practices can significantly and permanently sequester atmospheric carbon in the soil. While some variation in carbon storage potential exists based on different circumstances, doubts persist regarding the long-term effectiveness of these methods.

The USDA spokesperson emphasized the importance of no-till and cover crops for carbon sequestration on croplands. However, experts caution against solely relying on these practices as a solution to climate change. Daniel Rath, an agricultural soil carbon scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, highlights that while these techniques offer environmental benefits such as preventing soil erosion and enhancing biodiversity, they should not serve as offsets for more enduring pollutants.

Humberto Blanco, an agronomy professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, advocates for more aggressive strategies to mitigate climate change. Blanco asserts that to offset or mitigate climate change, policymakers and stakeholders truly must explore alternative systems beyond the current climate-friendly farming practices endorsed by the USDA.

USDA’s Investment and Expert Recommendations

Despite the scepticism surrounding the effectiveness of climate-friendly farming practices, the USDA has allocated substantial financial assistance to support these initiatives. Since 2014, the USDA has invested $1.3 billion in financial aid for planting and managing cover crops and an additional $224 million for implementing no-till or reduced-till practices. While this investment represents a fraction of the USDA’s total spending, it underscores the agency’s commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture.

Overall, while climate-friendly farming practices like no-till and cover cropping offer certain environmental benefits, doubts persist regarding their ability to mitigate climate change effectively. As experts call for more aggressive strategies, policymakers must reassess the current approach to ensure meaningful progress in combating climate change.

Also Read: Brazil Amazon Deforestation Down By 40% In First Quarter

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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