WASHINGTON – U.S. senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill that would direct the Agriculture Department to help farmers, ranchers and landowners use carbon dioxide-absorbing practices to generate carbon credits, a rare collaboration on climate change.
The proposed Growing Climate Solutions Act directs the USDA to create a program that would help the agriculture sector gain access to revenue from greenhouse gas offset credit markets.
The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Senators Mike Braun of Indiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
The bill would establish USDA-certified protocols for farmers, ranch and forest owners seeking to develop projects that can generate offset credits under existing programs. It would offer a new revenue stream for farmers, ranchers and land owners suffering from the economic impacts of global trade tensions and the coronavirus.
Landowners and farmers can generate credits and earn money for activities ranging from reforestation to sequestering carbon in soil to capturing methane from livestock
Elizabeth Gore from the Environmental Defense Fund’s responses.
Here is her response:
A bipartisan group of senators today introduced a bill to help agriculture contribute to and benefit from comprehensive climate solutions. The Growing Climate Solutions Act directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a certification program that will make it easier for farmers to develop, verify and sell environmental credits. The bill is sponsored by Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
“Farmers are vital partners in stabilizing the climate and increasing resilience to the impacts we can’t avoid. The Growing Climate Solutions Act makes it easier for farmers to pull up a seat at the table and be part of the climate solution.
“It enables new revenue streams that pay farmers for adopting climate-friendly practices. Those changes will help drive the U.S. toward a 100% clean economy and help ensure farms and rural communities thrive in a changing climate.
“We appreciate this bipartisan group of senators for recognizing the potential of climate-smart agriculture, and we look forward to working with their staff to expedite additional opportunities for farmers to benefit while delivering measurable climate benefits.”
· Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs