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Ongoing U.S. Domestic Programs - Sequestration & Agriculture

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Global Climate

ONGOING U.S. DOMESTIC PROGRAMS SEQUESTRATION & AGRICULTURE

• R&D for Sequestration
• Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry
• Scientific Research

R&D for Sequestration

DOE is pursuing research on sequestration technologies to separate and capture carbon dioxide from energy processes and combustion, disposal technologies for storing carbon dioxide in underground geological structures and in the deep ocean, and advanced concepts to transform carbon dioxide into either useful or environmentally benign products. In the post-2015 time period, this program has the potential to eliminate hundreds of millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.


Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture and Forestry

Natural carbon sinks will play a critical role in helping the world meet the challenge of climate change. Recently, focus has intensified on agriculture and forestry practices that can affect the ability of farmland and forests to sequester carbon and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. As understanding of these practices has increased, the U.S. government has begun to analyze the net carbon effects of various USDA conservation and environmental programs and to determine how they can be enhanced and expanded to foster greater sequestration. In general, the programs assist farmers, ranchers, and other landowners in conserving and improving soil, water, and other natural resources associated with rural land. The programs include:

  • Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) helps farmers develop and implement conservation plans on farms and ranches. Practices that sequester carbon include cover crops, residue management, crop rotation, and buffer establishment.

  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides rental payments and cost-sharing on 36.4 million acres for grass, shrub, or tree planting in exchange for retiring highly erodible or other environmentally sensitive cropland.

  • Forestry Incentives Program (FIP) provides financial and technical assistance to encourage production of sawtimber and pulpwood on nonindustrial private forestlands, and the Stewardship Incentives Program (SIP) provides financial and technical assistance to expand tree planting and implement stewardship plans on private properties.


Scientific Research

The Administration is continuing its strong support ($1.7 billion in Fiscal Year 1999 funding) for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which seeks to provide a sound scientific understanding of the human and natural forces that influence the Earth's climate system. National and international policymakers use the information produced by USGCRP scientists to make informed decisions on global change issues. Specific new research focuses include:

  • Carbon Cycle Initiative — a new multi-agency initiative to improve understanding of the ways that car-bon cycles between the atmosphere, oceans, and land.

  • Soil Carbon Inventory — expanded efforts to conduct a comprehensive scientific inventory of carbon stored in U.S. soils and develop methods to predict how various practices and policies would affect soil carbon levels.

  • Consequences of Climate Change — the first national assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on the United States.


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