Over the past several years, 25x’25 partners have been working together to explore opportunities for the agricultural and forestry sectors to participate in the new energy future that is emerging. We have come a long way in defining our role in this future and quantifying how much energy we may be able to sustainably produce.
While the nation continues to pursue energy security goals, national attention is now simultaneously turning to ways that clean energy solutions can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming. In producing clean, renewable forms of energy, the agricultural and forestry sectors displace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, sustainable production practices associated with renewable energy generation can sequester carbon and other greenhouse gases that otherwise might escape into the atmosphere. For these reasons, the 25x’25 National Steering Committee chartered a special Work Group in 2008 to analyze agriculture and forestry’s role in a reduced carbon economy and develop recommendations for how each sector can capitalize on efforts to reduce and capture carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
The Work Group, which is composed of nationally recognized producers, economists, conservationists and academic and business leaders, has been carefully examining opportunities to participate in a reduced carbon economy and has concluded that agriculture and forestry can and will deliver substantial emission reductions and carbon sequestration services. Exactly how we will participate in this future is still an open question; however, we do know that national climate policy that the Congress will adopt sometime in the near future will further shape the role we will play in our nation’s energy future.
As a result, the 25x’25 National Steering Committee believes it is critically important for the agriculture and forestry sectors to become engaged in the carbon/climate change policy discussions that are occurring in and outside of government and to proactively advocate for the enabling policies that will be necessary for our sectors to deliver and be compensated for the carbon reduction services we can and will provide.
To help facilitate these discussions, the 25x’25 Carbon Work Group has produced a discussion guide entitled Agriculture and Forestry in a Reduced Carbon Economy: Solutions from the Land. Also available are the Executive Summary of this document and the biosketches of the individuals who comprise the Work Group, as well as a condensed Carbon Basics brochure.
The Work Group has also developed a Question and Answer guide to support information education outreach work with interested stakeholders and has also consolidated a list of key documents and resources.
Legislation addressing climate change has been introduced in Congress. 25x’25 resources that address that legislation include the 25x’25 Biological Sequestration Recommendations, Overview of the Waxman-Markey Bill, Summary of Recent Cost Impact Data, and Recommendations to Improve the Kerry-Boxer Climate Change Proposal.
We’ve also added a paper, The Pyrolysis-Biochar Bioenergy Pathway for Agriculture, summarizing the emerging opportunity that pyrolysis-biochar provides as a carbon negative source of renewable energy with valuable carbon offsets and soil amendment coproducts.
In addition to these tools, we would be pleased to provide expert speakers to meet with any committees or groups that are exploring this subject inside your organization. Please follow up with Ernie Shea, the 25x’25 Project Coordinator, if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.