January 2020


EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the latest edition of NACSAA News, a monthly compilation of CSA-related news. “NACSAA in Action” features the latest on the Alliance activities; “Featured News” offers some of the biggest CSA-related stories of the past month; “Other News We Are Reading” is a listing of news stories from other sources we think you will find of interest; and “Partner News and Events.” We hope this newsletter will serve to keep you, your members and other constituencies fully engaged in the growing development of climate-smart agriculture policy, programs and practices. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated. To subscribe, email info@SfLDialogue.net.

NACSAA in Action

Enabling Policies Team Embarks on Ambitious Course in 2020

NACSAA’s Enabling Policies Team, chaired by Ray Gaesser, met this week to begin analyzing the policy recommendations identified by Alliance members for possible submission to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (HSCCC). The goal is to forge consensus on a set of draft recommendations that can be shared with NACSAA members by mid-February and then submitted to the Select Committee in early March.

Ray Gaesser

The HSCCC and its chair, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), has given agricultural interests an  opportunity to contribute to the policy discussion and help committee members “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis.”

Ultimately, the NACSAA team’s task is to shape the formation of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) enabling policy, strategies and planning at the national, regional and global levels.

To that end, NACSAA representatives aim to monitor and contribute to CSA work in the following forums:

  • Global and National forums and activities
  • UNFCCC Koronivia Joint Work program on Agriculture
  • Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture; (GACSA) dialogue on agroecology and CSA
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – a multiyear action plan on food security and climate change
  • UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), scaling up the agroecology initiative: Transforming food and agricultural systems in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)
  • UN Environment Program – 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production patterns (UNEP 10YFP)
  • UNEP 10YFP – a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in both developed and developing countries)
  • UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) High Level of Panel of Experts (HLPE) on “Agroecology and Other Innovations for Food Security and Nutrition”
  • Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases

Also on the enabling policies front in 2020 is partnering with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR); and maintain a calendar of priority forums, attending select events.

NACSAA leaders will continue to build and maintain personal relationships with negotiators and organizers; monitor developments on the national and global stages; and draft and submit responses to relevant policy proposals.

NACSAA leaders will also identify, aggregate and help partners advocate for needed enabling policies and programs (production and conservation systems, risk management strategies and infrastructure) needed to achieve CSA outcomes.

Work on Next Submission to Global Climate Negotiators Now Underway

Work is underway on a new NACSAA submission to global climate negotiators developing ag-related proposals under the Koronivia Joint Work Agreement (KJWA), and Alliance members are invited to submit recommendations.

In a teleconference this week, NACSAA leaders began to map out a strategy for constructing the alliance’s submission on the topics:

  • 2(e) Improved livestock management systems, including agropastoral production systems and others; and
  • 2(f) Socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change in the agricultural sector.

The KJWA is a policy process adopted by negotiators in 2017 that for the first time fully recognized the role agricultural interests must play to face climate challenges.

At the time of the KJWA’s adoption more than two years ago, global negotiators set out a road map of work under the agreement’s protocol, including six workshops to be held sequentially up until the next negotiating session, the Conference of Parties (COP) 26 this November in Glasgow, Scotland.

At the fourth Koronivia workshop, which was held last year, delegates focused on improved nutrient use and manure management towards sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.

As it has at previous United Nations workshops, NACSAA submitted and supported its recommendations, the latest in the alliance’s efforts to promote policies and actions that can optimize the contributions the world’s farmers can offer in the effort to stem changes to our climate that jeopardize their ability to grow ample, safe and affordable food, feed, fiber and energy.

The next submission, which is due by April 20, will be preceded by a special March 3-5 KJWA workshop in Bonn, Germany, where discussion will reportedly focus on livestock, integrated watershed management and scaling up action.

NACSAA members recognize that animal agriculture is being challenged across the UN system by coalitions of well-organized and funded plant-based diet, nutrition and health, social justice and environmental groups who view animals as problems rather than solutions.

The challenges to the animal sector contributed to the decision to advocate for the role of animal agriculture in meeting sustainable development goals (SDGs) and step up involvement in UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forums, where the role of animal agriculture is being debated. Alliance leaders look forward to joining livestock and animal ag organizations that are advocating for the critical role animal agriculture plays in supporting the attainment of climate, nutrition, health, economic development, conservation and other SDGs.

Resilience Initiative Undertaken to Promote

Best Practices to Adapt to Climate Change

NACSAA will play a principle role in a Resilience initiative recently approved by the SfL board, a project engaging and educating influencers and decision makers to create a framework of resilience measures that can be put into place by producers.

Many of NACSAA’s recent efforts have focused on increasing agricultural resilience worldwide through international engagement with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. While policies adopted by global negotiators to put the sector in the front during world climate talks will be important to keeping operations sustainable as they deliver food, feed, fuel, fiber and ecosystem services, the persistent stressor of a changing climate on agriculture have inspired producers to take a growing interest in focusing more efforts on domestic resilience.

This North American Resilience initiative can be seen as a direct response to the increased frequency of erratic and extreme weather events and climate variation, as represented by the epic flooding in the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins this past spring and numerous further flooding, drought and wildfire events. These unprecedented risks to the sustainability of North American agriculture require coordinated planning to promote and advance best practices to support soil health, drought and flood tolerance, as well as increase production capability.

To mitigate the risks – enhanced by climate change as a threat multiplier – that will be faced by growers, NACSAA will utilize its diverse group of agricultural leaders and organizations across the continent. By creating a Work Group to review challenges and mitigation tactics, alliance members will join together and develop an overall strategy to enhance the adaptive capacity of North American agriculture based on the principles of climate smart agriculture (CSA).

The Fourth National Climate Assessment Report, Volume II, a project overseen by 13 federal agencies and made up of contributions from hundreds of scientists from around the country, contains several key warnings for United States agriculture. It states that climate change will lead to the decline of food and forage production, critical soil, water and infrastructure resources, and human and livestock health as extreme temperature, precipitation and drought events increase across our agricultural landscape.

Planning to protect and insulate our growers from these shocks and disruptions will be more important than ever while fulfilling the three pillars of CSA: sustainably increasing productivity and incomes, adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Role of NACSAA Reps at Global Climate Talks Upgraded to ‘Observer Status’

NACSAA participation at future global climate negotiating sessions has been upgraded with formal notification from officials with the UN Climate Change Secretariat that Solutions from the Land (SfL), the 501c3 nonprofit which provides coordination and facilitation services for the alliance, has received official “observer status.”

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s activities are critical to engagement with international climate change treaties and agreements. The “observer” designation is a privilege granted by UNFCCC to non-members, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to enable their participation in the Convention’s activities.

Notables among these include the yearly Conference of the Parties (COP) negotiating sessions, the sessional and intersessional meetings in between annual convenings, and UNFCCC-led workstreams such as the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). Only observer groups can submit recommendations to KJWA or nominate delegates to the COP for their organizations.

With the confirmation of SfL’s move from provisional to official observer, the nonprofit can nominate delegates, including those representing NACSAA and North American agriculture, to attend and engage at COPs and influence the KJWA’s outcomes. In 2020, the next sessional meeting (SB 52) will be in June and include a KJWA workshop, while COP 26 is set to convene in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

The organization’s enhanced status was approved at COP 25, which was held in Madrid, Spain, last month.

NGOs with official observer status represent a broad spectrum of interests, and represent from farming and agriculture, business and industry, environmental groups, indigenous populations, local governments and municipal authorities, research and academic institutes, labor unions, women and gender and youth groups.


Featured News

Energy Data Analysis Shows Small Drop in U.S. GHGs over 2019


U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 2.1 percent in 2019, an analysis from the Rhodium Group based on preliminary energy and economic data. The global research consulting firm says the decline was due almost entirely to a drop in coal consumption.


Coal-fired power generation fell by a record 18 percent from 2018 levels, its lowest level since 1975. An increase in natural gas generation offset some of the climate gains from the coal decline, but overall power sector emissions still decreased by almost 10 percent.



“Unfortunately, far less progress was made in other sectors of the economy,” the consulting group said. Transportation emissions remained relatively flat. Emissions from buildings, industry and other parts of the economy rose, though less than in 2018.


“All told, net U.S. GHG emissions ended 2019 slightly higher than at the end of 2016.” The Rhodium Group says. “At roughly 12 percent below 2005 levels, the U.S. is at risk of missing its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17-percent reduction by the end of 2020, and is still a long way off from the 26-28-percent reduction by 2025 pledged under the Paris Agreement.


The switch from coal to natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector accounts for the majority of the progress the U.S. has made in reducing emissions over the past decade, the consultants report. Last year marks the end of a decade in which total U.S. coal generation was cut in half.


Natural gas generation made up much of the gap last year, as it has consistently in recent years, thanks to extremely cheap gas prices. Average annual prices at Henry Hub, a Louisiana pipeline that serves as the official delivery location for futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange, were down 20 percent in 2019, adjusted for inflation, to their lowest level in decades.


Renewables played an important role as well, thanks in part to continued cost declines in both wind and solar generation. Based on preliminary data from EIA and Genscape, a global energy monitoring firm, utility-scale renewable generation (including hydro) was up 6 percent in 2019. That’s higher than the 3 percent gain in 2018, but lower than the 13 percent gains posted in 2016 and 2017.


The drop in coal generation reduced emissions by 190 million metric tons in 2019. The growth in gas generation shaved a little more than 40 million metric tons off this number. But electric power sector emissions were still down by nearly 10 percent – the biggest year-on-year drop in decades, and a significant change from a 1.2 percent increase in 2018.


The Rhodium Group said there was little good news outside the power sector, continuing a trend has been observed for the past several years. Based on preliminary data, transportation emissions are estimated to have declined slightly – by 0.3 percent year-on-year. Biofuel advocates say from emissions from the sector could decline by much greater numbers if policy makers were to fully embrace low-carbon fuels are a climate-solution pathway.


Industrial emissions (both energy and process) rose by 0.6 percent. Direct emissions from buildings increased by 2.2 percent and emissions from other sectors (agriculture, waste, land use, oil and gas methane, etc.) rose by 4.4 percent.


Using preliminary data and International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) accounting protocols, the consultants estimate that net, economy-wide GHG emissions fell by 2.1 percent in the U.S. in 2019, down to 5,783 million metric tons. That’s a 12.3 percent cumulative decline relative to 2005 levels, with one year to go to meet the Copenhagen Accord target of reducing emissions “in the range” of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and six years to go to reach the 26-28-percent reduction by 2025 pledged under the Paris Agreement.


“The fact that the U.S. has achieved no net reductions over the past three years makes meeting these targets extremely challenging,” the consultants said.


Climate Action Can Offer More Than

$8 Billion/Year to Farmers, Rural Communities


A new analysis from the Center for American Progress finds that specific actions to address climate change can provide a major financial benefit to farmers and rural communities.


The issue brief finds that taking climate action can drive more than $8 billion per year into rural communities, including close to $22,000 in additional income for the average family farm in the United States.


The findings support NACSAA assertions that climate actions taken by farmers and ranchers build on their bottom lines. The study also serves to support calls for government financial support for operators who must invest more to implement the additional practices that help stem changes to climate conditions. climate control measures.


One example of a new revenue stream for farms comes from increasing soil health so that it captures and sequesters carbon. CAP recommends placing an additional 100 million acres of farmland under the USDA’s working lands programs by 2030. The program rewards farmers for improved soil health and land stewardship practices, and could drive an additional $3.5 billion of annual revenues to farms in the form of incentive payments.


Adoption of cover crops on 100 million acres would also drive an estimated $1.4 billion in additional cost savings. Other recommendations include expanding renewable energy in rural areas, increasing the number of acres of farmland and private lands in conservation, and using methane digesters to reduce on-farm electricity costs, prevent manure runoff into waterways, and keep methane from entering the atmosphere.


Plant Genomes Reveal Basis for Adaptation to Contrasting Climates


Using field experiments and plant genome studies, an international research team has pinpointed areas of the genome that are affected during local adaptation to contrasting climates. The new insight represents an important first step towards future development of crops that are resilient to climate change.


Lotus japonicus. Photo_ Niels Sandal_ Aarhus University

The study from researchers in Denmark, Japan, Austria and Germany say that crop plants remaining productive in a changing climate is not guaranteed, noting that plants are confronted with similar climate adaptation challenges when colonizing new regions, as climate conditions can change quickly across latitudes and landscapes.


Despite the relevance of the issue, the researchers say there is limited basic scientific insight into how plants tackle this challenge and adapt to local climate conditions.


The researchers studied the plant Lotus japonicus, which – with relatively limited genomic changes – has been able to adapt to diverse Japanese climates ranging from subtropical to temperate. Using a combination of field experiments and genome sequencing, the researchers were able to infer the colonization history of Lotus japonicus in Japan and identify areas in the genome where plant populations adapted to warm and cold climates, respectively, showing extreme genetic differentiation. At the same time, they showed that some of these genomic regions were strongly associated with plant winter survival and flowering.


The team says its work represents the first identification of specific genomic regions that have changed in response to natural selection to allow the plant species to adapt to new climatic conditions.


“One of the great questions of evolutionary biology is how natural selection can lead to genetic adaptation to new environments, and here we directly observed an example of this in Lotus japonicus,” said a team member, Prof Mikkel Heide Schierup, Aarhus University in Denmark.


Assoc. Professor Stig Uggerhøj Andersen, also at Aarhus University, said the team found it “fascinating that we have identified specific traits, including winter survival, that have been under selection during plant local adaptation to contrasting climates.


“At the same time, we observed extreme genetic signatures of selection in specific genomic regions. This link between selection signatures and specific traits is critical for understanding the process of local adaptation,” he said.


“The rapid adaptation of Lotus japonicus to widely different climates indicate that genetic variation underlying the adaptations was already present before plant colonization,” Schierup added. “This is promising for other plant species on a planet with rapid climate change, since it will allow more rapid adaptation.”


“In this case, the different climates have resulted in distinct plant populations adapted to their own local environments,” Andersen added “These populations appear to be preserved because certain genotypes are an advantage in warm climates, but a disadvantage in cold climates and vice versa.”


Soil Health, Conservation Study

Finds Soy Farmers Committed to Conservation


A soil health and conservation study commissioned by the American Soybean Association (ASA) shows U.S. soybean farmers are active conservationists with a desire to do more, but also need to be compensated for the additional costs incurred in implementing more practices.


The findings on compensation reflect an issue of fairness long advocated by NACSAA. The Alliance has argued that some steps landowners need to take to meet conservation goals and, in part, make their properties resilient to a changing client, come at an increasing cost.


Farmers who are often subjected to the vagaries of hostile weather (harsh winds, torrential rains, flooding, drought and brush fires) require capital to put new and sometimes technologically demanding practices into place. Without financial returns for the additional benefits of these practices, such as higher prices for value-added products or income directly linked to their use, it can be difficult to reconcile these new efforts with short-term financial sustainability for the operation.


The ASA research found that growers have, on average, 14 longstanding conservation practices in place. They have recently added new ones, and intend to implement more – despite the average grower having to pay for all conservation measures, with average expenditures totaling more than $15,000 per year.


Most farmers (78 percent) manage rental land the same as land they own, paying conservation expenditures even on rented land, which means the positive practices put in place by farmers extend to all the land they farm.


Stanford-Led Review Offers Pathways to Change Minds on Climate Change


By reviewing the psychology behind climate change rejection, a Stanford researcher suggests four approaches that can sway climate deniers and help overcome obstacles to implementing solutions.


Want to sway the opinion of climate deniers? Start by acknowledging and respecting people’s beliefs, says behavioral scientist Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, lead author of a paper in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Jan. 8.


Wong-Parodi and her team conducted a review of the psychology behind why some people reject climate change despite knowledge or access to the facts.


Denying the effects of climate change serves as a barrier to taking the actions needed to mitigate the worst effects, including rising seas, more intense hurricanes and increased droughts and heatwaves. However, the researchers found that those who deny human causes for climate change can be swayed through conversations that appeal to their different identities, reframe solutions – or even embrace their climate views.


“I think in the climate change sphere there’s this thinking of, ‘there’s the deniers over there, let’s just not even engage with them – it’s not worth it,'” Wong-Parodi said. “A lot of the tactics and strategies start from the point that something is wrong with the climate deniers, rather than trying to acknowledge that they have a belief and opinion and it matters. But I think there is an opportunity to keep trying to understand one another, especially now.”


The researchers focused on what is referred to as “motivated denial” – knowing or having access to the facts, but nevertheless denying them. For some people, accepting that humans cause climate change questions self-worth, threatens financial institutions and is accompanied by an overwhelming sense of responsibility.


Although efforts to sway climate deniers may seem futile, the researchers found four approaches in peer-reviewed studies from the past two years that could be most effective:

  • Reframing solutions to climate change as ways to uphold the social system and work toward its stability and longevity
  • Reducing the ideological divide by incorporating the purity of the Earth, rather than how we harm or care for it
  • Having conversations about the scientific consensus around climate change with trusted individuals
  • Encouraging people to explicitly discuss their values and stance on climate change prior to engaging with climate information

Wong-Parodi said she found the fourth approach to be the most intriguing because less research has been done in that area than the other three – and it seems to have a lot of potential for behavior change. Self-affirmation is challenged when people face climate change because it requires them to consider their contribution to the problem, which can threaten their sense of integrity and trigger self-defense.


“A good portion of people who deny climate change recognize that there is some change, but the change is so threatening because it basically could affect your quality of life. It could affect your income. It could affect a number of different things that you care about,” said the researcher, an assistant professor of Earth system science at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).


Some preliminary studies suggest that rather than trying not  to get around people’s identities and denial of climate change, conversations should instead embrace their views. Try to ignore who people are, but rather acknowledge their views so that they can be dealt with and the conversation can move on to behavioral changes – such as finding solutions that match their values and do not threaten a person’s sense of identity or quality of life, according to Wong-Parodi.


“I think we often forget that people can have many identities – there might be a political identity, but there is also an identity as a mother, or an identity as a friend or an identity as a student,” said Wong-Parodi, who is also a fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “You can elicit other identities when you’re talking about climate change that may be more effective.”


Other News We Are Reading…

Florida Farmers Should Be Leaders in Fighting Climate Crisis


An op-ed penned by Florida Climate-Smart Agriculture Work Group

leaders Lynetta Usher Griner, Jim Strickland and Jack Payne and published in the Tampa Bay Times this week makes the case that farmers in Florida have the potential to make real impact in the climate crisis,


As your farmers, foresters, ranchers, and agricultural scientists, we know you’re buying based on more than price. We see it when you spend extra for grass-fed beef, organic produce, or cage-free eggs. We believe there’s a market for food that fights climate change. Your tomatoes already take carbon from the air and lock it in the soil. Your steaks come from pastures that keep the planet a lot cooler than subdivisions do. We want to do a lot more. With the right tools and incentives, farmers can be leaders in finding solutions to the climate crisis. We’re your green infrastructure. Traditional infrastructure such as roads and sewers and fire stations get funded by taxpayers. The green infrastructure of farms, pastures, and forests provide critical services, too, such as clean water and air and preserving land for future generations. But you don’t pay for those – we do. (Read more…)


Congressional Watchdog to Review Trump Admin’s Use of Biofuel Waivers



The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) will review the Trump administration’s use of waivers exempting oil refineries from the nation’s biofuel blending requirements, according to a letter dated last Friday, after lawmakers called for an investigation. The so-called Small Refinery Exemptions are intended to protect refineries in financial distress from the cost of blending ethanol into gasoline. But the U.S. corn lobby and its representatives have accused the administration of overusing them to help oil companies at the expense of farmers. The GAO, a congressional watchdog unit, accepted the request from lawmakers – including Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rodney Davis(R-IL) – to examine the administration’s handling of the waivers handed out for the 2018 compliance year. The group in August had asked the GAO in a letter to review the factors that the Trump administration’s EPA considered in approving the waivers, and to examine the DOE’s process for recommending exemptions to EPA, according to the letter. (Read more…)


Earth’s Hottest Decade on Record Marked by Extreme Storms, Wildfires

(Inside Climate News)


Deadly heat waves, wildfires and widespread flooding punctuated a decade of climate extremes that, by many scientific accounts, show global warming kicking into overdrive. As the year drew to a close, scientists were confidently saying 2019 was Earth’s second-warmest recorded year on record, capping the warmest decade. Eight of the 10 warmest years since measurements began occurred this decade, and the other two were only a few years earlier. Arctic sea ice melted faster and took longer to form again in the fall. Big swaths of ocean remained record-warm nearly all year, in some regions spawning horrifically damaging tropical storms that surprised experts with their rapid intensification. Densely populated parts of Europe shattered temperature records amid heat waves blamed for hundreds of deaths, and a huge section of the U.S. breadbasket region was swamped for months by floodwater. (Read more…)


Signal of Human-Caused Climate Change

Has Emerged in Everyday Weather: Study

(The Washington Post)

For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Dec. 26 in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change. The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution. The new study, which was in part motivated by President Trump’s tweets about how a cold day in one particular location disproves global warming, uses statistical techniques and climate model simulations to evaluate how daily temperatures and humidity vary around the world. Scientists compared the spatial patterns of these variables with what physical science shows is expected because of climate change. (Read more…)


EPA Finalizes 2020 RVOs, SRE Rule; Disappoints Biofuels Industry

(Ethanol Producer Magazine)


A final rule released by the EPA on Dec. 19 includes a slight boost in the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard cellulosic biofuel and advanced biofuel targets, but no other changes to proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs). The rule also maintains EPA’s much criticized proposed plan to account for future small refinery exemptions (SREs) – a move slammed by members of the biofuels industry. The rulemaking sets the 2020 RVO at 20.09 billion gallons, up from 19.92 billion gallons in 2019. This includes 590 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, up from a proposed 540 million gallons; 2.43 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel, which was finalized in a 2019 RFS rulemaking; and 5.09 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, up from a proposed 5.04 billion gallons. The implied 2020 RVO for conventional biofuel, which is primarily met with corn ethanol, is 15 billion gallons.

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Subcommittee Told to Consider Ag as a Resource in Climate Change Mitigation (Agri-Pulse)


Agricultural practices have the potential to address climate change by sequestering carbon, witnesses told a House subcommittee last week at a hearing focused on regenerative agriculture and ag technology. David Potere, head of GeoInnovation at Indigo Agriculture, outlined how his company is creating a new market for a different type of crop: carbon. The company, which was founded in 2014, has begun an initiative to sequester 1 trillion tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide in farmland around the world, and through Indigo Carbon is offering farmers the opportunity to get paid for increasing the carbon content of their soil. “Bringing farmers into the solution … can be a definitive part of the solution for climate change because of the potential of ag soils to absorb carbon,” Potere told members of the House Innovation and Workforce Development Subcommittee. Potere pointed to the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, which contains a provision allowing oil companies to receive a tax incentive for carbon sequestration when they pull oil out of the ground. The way the act is currently written, farmers don’t get the same incentive. (Read more…)


BlackRock Joins $41 Trillion Investor Climate Campaign (Bloomberg)


BlackRock Inc. added its almost $7 trillion heft to a group of investors that’s pressing the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases to change their ways. The addition of the world’s largest fund manager is a significant milestone for Climate Action 100+, bringing total assets under management by its members to more than $41 trillion. The group already has some notable victories in its campaign of engagement with corporate giants that account for more than two-thirds of global industrial emissions. Last year, BP Plc agreed to report in detail on how its investments are compatible with the Paris climate agreement after shareholders supported a resolution proposed by the activist group. It has also extracted pledges from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and commodities giant Glencore Plc. (Read more…)


Warming Temperatures are Is the Kindling that Causes Extensive Wildfires in Permafrost (Science Daily)


Large-scale wildfires often occur in the northern inland of Russia, where, in July 2018, flames scorched 3,211 km2. Subsequent wildfires in the region in May of last year covered an even greater range of land. While the scope of these disastrous fires is most often attributed to dry ground and high winds, a recently released study says climate change is the kindling that starts these conflagrations. Researchers in Korea and Scotland say they have identified a cause of wildfires in the permafrost region of southeastern Siberia which is related to the Artic Oscillation, an atmospheric circulation pattern in which cold air swirls and alternates positive and negative phases over number of days and years repeatedly. Permafrost areas, where ground remains frozen for two years straight, spans widely in Siberia, Alaska, and North Europe, and takes up about 24 percent of Northern Hemisphere. Scientists say permafrost was formed at the end of Ice Age, some 11,000 years ago, and is believed to have bones of ancient animals, plant roots and five hundred billion tons of carbons buried in it. Because of those sizeable stores, carbon released in this region is as important as the carbon release from human use of fossil fuels when predicting climate change. The research team analyzed the relationship between the changes in weather conditions and forest fires occurred in the permafrost region of southeastern Siberia, discovering that the atmospheric ring-like structure at the Arctic pole is disrupted and high pressure in this region abnormally increases temperature in winter, which brings snowmelt earlier and dried surface, resulting in fire spreading. (Read more…)



Partner News and CSA Events

FFAR is Accepting Pre-Proposals for Seeding Solutions 2020

The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) is now accepting pre-proposal applications for the 2020 Seeding Solutions Grant Program, the Foundation’s flagship competitive program that funds research solutions in FFAR’s six Challenge Areas in collaboration with unique partners. Every year, FFAR funds at least one proposal in each Challenge Area, awarding grantees up to $1 million.

“Now in its fourth consecutive year, Seeding Solutions provides food and agriculture researchers the opportunity to explore creative solutions to some of the industry’s most pressing challenges,” said FFAR’s Executive Director Sally Rockey. “We promote technological innovations in this program and consistently fund the best research that explore remarkable agricultural issues across the range of our Challenge areas.”

Seeding Solutions grantees are required to provide matching funds from non-federal sources and identify an innovation that addresses an intractable problem in food and agriculture within one of FFAR’s Challenge areas. Successful applications will also serve the public by making data open and accessible.

The deadline to submit pre-proposals is February 26, 2020. Full application criteria and eligibility requirements are available on the Seeding Solutions Grant Program website.

FFAR awarded $9.7 million in 2018 Seeding Solutions Grant Program funding, which was matched by outside funders for a total investment of nearly $20 million in agricultural innovation. The 2019 Seeding Solutions grantees will be announced this spring.

ACORE Assesses Climate Policy Options

That Most Effectively Put Renewable Energy to Work

A new report from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) examines several of the most notable policy approaches for accelerating the transition to a renewable energy economy and achieving scientifically based reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The report, Advancing America’s Climate Leadership: Policy Options That Most Effectively Put Renewable Energy to Work, discusses specific advantages and limitations of each policy option, individually and in combination, and offers design recommendations for policymakers to optimize their implementation.

The policy approaches considered include:

* A federal high-penetration renewable energy standard (RES) or clean energy standard (CES)

* A technology-neutral tax credit for zero or low-carbon electricity generation

* Carbon pricing

* Complementary measures to modernize our antiquated electric grid

“Through a combination of smart, forward-looking policy tools, we can accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and enabling grid technologies and avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s President and CEO. “This analysis is designed to help policymakers identify the quickest pathway to America’s clean energy future with the least disruption, at the lowest possible cost.”

To download a copy of ACORE’s new report, Advancing America’s Climate Leadership: Policy Options That Most Effectively Put Renewable Energy to Work, please visit: https://acore.org/advancing-americas-climate-leadership/


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