October 6, 2022

Inflation Reduction Act Shows Congress – Finally – Understanding Agriculture’s Contribution to Climate Change and Opportunities to Mitigate It

Inflation Reduction Act Shows Congress – Finally – Understanding Agriculture’s Contribution to Climate Change and Opportunities to Mitigate It

This groundbreaking law provides approximately $20 billion over four years to support agricultural practices that reduce net greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon sequestration.

On August 16, 2022, President Biden enacted the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), historic legislation that first directly addressed the dire need for climate change mitigation in many sectors, including agriculture. This groundbreaking law provides approximately $20 billion over four years to support agricultural practices that reduce net greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon sequestration. In an other saying, first timeCongress has clearly identified climate change mitigation as a necessary goal of agricultural financing.

The importance of this clear acknowledgment of the link between climate change and agriculture cannot be overstated. While many acknowledge the impact of climate change on agriculture – how the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, heatwaves and fires has dramatically damaged farmers and ranchers – few fully understand how much the agricultural sector contributes. warming planet. It is much more important than most realize, primarily because of methane emissions from cows and manure, and the impact of using so much land. Actually, real climate impact of agriculture is on par with the oil and gas industries, and we cannot meet our climate goals without effectively and dramatically reducing emissions from this sector. Yet just four years ago, not a word was spoken of climate when Congress passed the Farm Act of 2018, the law that provides over $20 billion in annual subsidies for programs that directly affect what, where, and how farmers produce our food. hundreds of pages of the law. (Fortunately, many of the practices that reduce soil loss or water pollution also help curb climate change, so the bill’s conservation programs provide some support for climate change mitigation.)

We’ve come a long way in four years, but we still have a long way to go. The IRA is a critical first step towards acknowledging the agriculture sector’s climate footprint and taking appropriate action. By explicitly linking agricultural financing to climate change mitigation practices, the IRA provides a model for how Congress can address climate change more effectively in the 2023 Farm Act. We hope Congress will build on that next year, and that the farm bill will direct much of its conservation funding towards practices that help mitigate climate change and strengthen climate resilience.

View the Earthjustice Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program statement on the Climate Impact of Agriculture here: Contribution of Agriculture to Climate Change:Accounting for Agriculture’s Large Climate Footprint

 

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On August 16, 2022, President Biden enacted the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), historic legislation that first directly addressed the dire need for climate change mitigation in many sectors, including agriculture.

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