Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Major Report On GHG Emissions & Sinks From Farm & Forest Activities

Aug 27: The Climate Change Program Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist released and requested public comments on the 564-page report Science-Based Methods for Entity-Scale Quantification of Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks from Agriculture and Forestry Practices. The report is the work of 38 scientists from across academia, USDA and the Federal government, who are experts in greenhouse gas (GHG) estimation in the cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest management sectors. The report has undergone technical review by an additional 29 scientists. The report outlines a set of consensus methods for quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon storage at the local farm, ranch or forest scale. It is important that the methods exhibit scientific rigor, transparency, completeness, accuracy, and cost effectiveness, as well as consistency and comparability with other USDA GHG inventory efforts.

    Comments which must be received by received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on October 11, 2013, will be used to further refine the methods report in preparation for publication as a USDA Technical Bulletin. USDA said the comments submitted will help it gauge the appropriateness and completeness of the proposed methods as well as methodological or data concerns that should be considered. A series of questions have been provided in the supplementary information to aid review and comments.

    The Climate Change Program Office (CCPO) operates within the Office of the Chief Economist at USDA and functions as the Department-wide focal point on agriculture, rural, and forestry-related climate change activities. The CCPO ensures that USDA is a source of objective, analytical assessments of the effects of climate change and proposed response strategies. This project addresses the need for scientifically-sound, Department-wide guidelines for quantifying GHG emissions and carbon sequestration at the farm-,
forest- and entity-scale. The report and other products developed by the project will be useful in assessing the carbon and GHG related environmental service benefits of various agricultural and forestry management practices and technologies.

    USDA has created a comprehensive set of GHG inventory methods that builds upon existing estimation and inventory efforts with the aim of providing transparent and robust inventory guidelines and reporting tools. The methods address direct greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration from agriculture and forest management at the farm, ranch or forest boundary. The report does not establish a GHG crediting framework or address policy issues related to crediting GHG reductions such as additionality or leakage. The specific questions that USDA requests comments on include:

1. Are sources of GHG emissions or sinks missing? Are the methods provided complete? Are there potential inconsistencies in and across the methods?

2. Are the proposed methods suitable for estimating GHG emissions at the farm-, forest- or entity-scale while meeting the selection criteria of transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness, accuracy, cost effectiveness, and ease of use?

3. Are new (or additional) data sources available for calculating emission factors?

4. Are there additional management practices for which the science and data are clear, and which should be addressed in the methods report? If yes, please provide details.

5. Are the methods appropriate across a variety of farm and forest entities as well as applicable to operations of any size?

6. Are the research gaps clearly identified? Are there additional gaps to note, or new data sources that significantly address any of the listed gaps?

    Access a brief release from USDA (click here). Access the draft report (click here). Access the FR announcement (click here). Access additional background and supporting data for the report (click here). Access the USDA docket for this action for documents and to submit and review comments (click here). [#Agriculture, #Climate, #Land]