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April 20, 2023

Climate-smart agriculture needs tech boost

Soyabean harvesting US agriculture
Expanding ‘climate-smart’ agricultural processes can help to reduce emissions in US farming practices (Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

A Stanford Law School report commissioned by the Bezos Earth Fund proposes alternatives to agricultural data collection and inventory.

The US agriculture sector is estimated to account for approximately 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, with “climate-smart” agricultural processes touted as a great tool to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

These new farming practices are also set to benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides substantial clean tech subsidies. However, despite the $20bn funding allocated to the sector, hurdles remain, points out a new report commissioned by the Bezos Earth Fund in co-operation with Stanford Law School’s Law and Policy Lab.

The authors of the report argue that current models and soil sampling protocols used by the US Department of Agriculture are outdated and that measurement and monitoring data is not publicly available to the extent needed.

Overcoming these challenges will be essential to track emission reductions and to scale up climate-smart agricultural processes, they say.

The report therefore recommends launching a number of initiatives to improve, in particular, the data collection and sharing of methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which represent 90 per cent of the sector’s overall emissions.

It also recommends creating a public inventory of protocols used in the sector and to build an Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Data Management System to facilitate benchmarking and validation.

You can access the full report here

A service from the Financial Times