Report from Stanford Law University Policy Lab and Bezos Earth Fund Will make Recommendations to Advance Climate-Wise Agriculture – SLS Information and Bulletins

To put climate-sensible agricultural techniques on a powerful, data-informed footing, the not too long ago released report urges new methods and protocols 

STANFORD, CA, APRIL 12, 2023—Given the Biden administration’s motivation to “climate-smart” agriculture and accompanying Congressional assist, the U.S. agricultural sector is poised to lower its carbon footprint and make key contributions to combating climate change, according to a new report from Stanford Law School’s (SLS) Legislation and Policy Lab and the Bezos Earth Fund, revealed currently. Nevertheless, as the authors describe in “Facts Development Required for Local weather-Smart Agriculture,” crucial improvements in carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide measurement and checking protocols and knowledge sharing are required to notice the full prospective of local climate-good agriculture. 

See report: Data Development essential for Local weather-clever Agriculture

David Hayes, Lecturer in Law

The agriculture sector is a important resource of the greenhouse gasses (GHG) that are leading to weather modify, accounting for somewhere around 10 per cent of U.S. GHG emissions. Methane gasoline released from livestock is the primary local climate-warming perpetrator, together with nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer use. On the optimistic facet, local climate-smart agricultural tactics these as planting go over crops, decreasing tillage, and increasing pasture management can aid eliminate surplus carbon from the environment and sequester it in soils. The local climate-intelligent agriculture initiative appears to be to supply farmers and ranchers with monetary incentives to encourage these varieties of soil management practices, as properly as procedures that will cut down methane and nitrous oxide emissions. 

The report is the product or service of an interdisciplinary policy lab practicum, Harvesting Weather Positive aspects from Agriculture and Forestry, commissioned by the Bezos Earth Fund and led by SLS Lecturer David J. Hayes, previous specific assistant to President Biden for climate coverage. The investigate and tips had been developed by SLS learners and other graduate college students from the Stanford Graduate School of Enterprise and the Doerr School of Sustainability underneath Hayes’ route. An op-ed authored by Hayes and Andy Jarvis of the Bezos Earth Fund summarizing the report was printed right now in The Hill.

Browse The Hill op-ed

Latest Federal Funding Necessitates a Local climate-Wise Reset

The SLS-Bezos Earth Fund workforce has produced its report at a essential moment, Hayes explained. Congress has tied nearly $20 billion in agricultural-connected conservation funding in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to a determination by the Secretary of Agriculture that funded agricultural methods “directly improve” carbon sequestration in soil or decrease methane emissions from livestock or nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer—a mandate that calls for new methods to collecting and decoding the applicable information. In addition, Congress has set apart $300 million for the USDA to quantify and observe local climate added benefits by means of field-centered information and also allocated $3.1 billion to pilot new ways to greenhouse fuel information selection through the Local weather-Intelligent Commodities program.

“Unfortunately important knowledge and analytical gaps at this time avert exact and verifiable quantification of how significantly climate-smart farming and ranching methods are possibly increasing carbon shares in soil or decreasing methane and nitrous oxide emissions,” claimed Hayes, who intended his plan lab to confront these problems.

“There has not been sufficient awareness on developing simple, price-successful protocols for measuring, checking, reporting and verifying local climate positive aspects linked with agricultural methods. Current survey techniques used by the USDA are imprecise and do not take edge of newly available technologies.”

“We are encouraged that there is solid interest throughout the state in expanding local climate-good farming and ranching methods,” explained Jarvis, director of the Long run of Food stuff at the Bezos Earth Fund. “There are lots of methods, these types of as address cropping, very low or no tillage, nutrient administration, and agroforestry that can appreciably lower agriculture’s carbon footprint. The problem has been the lack of reputable, consensus-primarily based measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification protocols. These are the worries and prospects that are dealt with in the report.”

The Suggestions

“One of the crucial tips underpinning our report is that the USDA should a lot more hugely prioritize endeavours to decrease methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which together account for 90 p.c of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions,” stated Hayes. “This will call for a relative shift in sources absent from checking carbon sequestration in soil, which to date has disproportionately commanded the attention of the USDA and others doing the job in this area. At the exact same time, we observed that there is an urgent need for agreed-on info administration protocols and devices, a vacuum that the USDA is perfectly positioned to fill.”

The report helps make a selection of precise recommendations to the USDA which includes:

  • Launch of a USDA Ag-Methane Reduction Initiative and a Nitrous Oxide Demonstration Task that alongside one another will accelerate the adoption of agricultural procedures, and measurement and monitoring info protocols, that concentrate on methane and nitrous oxide emissions, the premier sources of local climate-detrimental greenhouse gasses from agricultural actions. The methane-reduction initiative will discover and monitor advancements globally and incorporate the development of measurement and monitoring protocols. The nitrous oxide undertaking will, among other matters, prioritize federal funding for study into how to balance fertilizer efficacy and emissions reductions.
  • Start of a two-period Soil Carbon Measurement and Checking Plan that includes (1) a Soil Carbon Measurement Technological innovation Review that will oversee the evaluation of offered soil carbon measurement and checking possibilities, such as new systems and methodologies that have develop into obtainable in new yrs and (2) a Nationwide Soil Carbon Checking Software that will benefit from soil carbon protocols proposed by the Soil Carbon Measurement Know-how Overview to establish region-distinct baselines of soil carbon concentrations against which changes in carbon shares in soils will be measured and verified.
  • Institution of a Local climate-Good Protocol Clearinghouse that creates a consolidated general public inventory of protocols that are made use of all through the agricultural sector to evaluate and monitor carbon elimination and methane and nitrous oxide reductions. The Clearinghouse, which Congress now has inspired the USDA to create, will offer a platform for exchanging data about protocol development and deployment, creating an possibility for the USDA, scientists, practitioners, and the farming group to coalesce all around protocols that are extensively approved as trusted norms for measuring and monitoring carbon removals and greenhouse fuel emissions. 
  • Establishment of an Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Knowledge Administration Program to deal with the point that publicly-financed agricultural measurement and checking details are not easily available to researchers and an increasing number of proprietary software program products are limiting the availability of facts that have field-vast worth. The USDA, in collaboration with the White Household, the U.S. Digital Provider, and philanthropic associates, should really established up a professionally managed knowledge management method that will serve as a repository of greenhouse gas measurement and monitoring info and aid the collection of knowledge in formats that permit benchmarking and validation without having compromising farmer privacy passions. 

About the SLS Regulation and Policy Lab

Less than the direction of seasoned faculty advisers, Regulation and Policy Lab pupils counsel actual-earth shoppers in these types of locations as instruction, copyright and patent reform, governance and transparency in rising economies, policing systems, and strength and the ecosystem.

Coverage labs tackle issues for serious consumers, using analytic strategies that supplement classic lawful investigation. Typically, policy labs support purchasers via empirical evidence that scopes a coverage problem and assesses alternatives and courses of action. The resulting deliverables replicate the requirements of the shopper grounded in the legislation school’s belief that systematic examination of societal complications, informed by arduous facts evaluation, can deliver remedies to society’s most challenging community issues.

About Stanford Law Faculty

Stanford Regulation University is one of the nation’s main establishments for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential selection makers in regulation, politics, business enterprise, and significant engineering. School members argue in advance of the Supreme Court, testify ahead of Congress, create exceptional lawful scholarship and empirical examination, and lead often to the nation’s press as lawful and policy specialists. Stanford Legislation University has established a product for legal instruction that supplies arduous interdisciplinary schooling, palms-on working experience, global point of view, and emphasis on public provider, spearheading a motion for adjust.