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25x'25, University of Tennessee join to provide analysis of climate change policies on agriculture and forestry

The 25x'25 Alliance and the University of Tennessee's Bio-Based Energy Analysis Group recently announced that they are joining together to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impacts on U.S. agriculture and forestry that would result under various climate change policy scenarios, including that presented under the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009.

"A growing consensus among scientists is that global warming is occurring and can at least partially be attributed to increased emissions of greenhouse gases," said Burton English, a professor of agricultural economics and a member of BEAG. "Reducing GHG emissions should be a global environmental priority, so we will address how a reduction in GHG emissions can be achieved, and the economic and environmental impact a given climate policy will have on the agriculture and forestry sectors."

25x'25 will manage the study and coordinate the dissemination of its results.

"The primary target audience for this analysis is national agricultural and forest leaders who are attempting to understand and quantify how climate change legislation will impact their sectors," said Nathan Rudgers, Chairman of the 25x'25 Carbon Work Group. "This analysis will also be presented to federal and state policy makers; executive branch agency officials; renewable energy advocates; and national security, environmental and rural development leaders."

The analysis will be funded under a grant from the Energy Foundation, a partnership of major donors focused on solving the world's energy problems by advancing new energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that will provide a clean energy future.

Results from the study will include:

--Acreage devoted to each of the major crops (corn, sorghum, barley, wheat, rice, soybeans and cotton), hay and alfalfa, CRP and idled land in form of cropland pasture and any "energy crops"

--Production levels of the major crops, and livestock and poultry

--Production and use of major byproducts of the energy crops (e.g., soybean oil, soybean meal, DDGS, etc.)

--Price for the major crop, livestock and byproduct commodities

--Net farm income

--Impacts to the nation's and each state's economy as a result of a mature renewable energy sector and the results of those impacts on economic activity, employment, value-added, and taxes

--Environmental impacts including soil erosion, carbon sequestration, and carbon emission;

--Fossil energy requirements

--Value or cost imposed by cap and trade policies

The study will build on Solutions from the Land: The Role of Agriculture and Forestry in a Reduced Carbon Economy, a discussion guide and recommendations compiled by the 25x'25 Carbon Work Group, on how the two sectors can deliver substantial emissions reductions, including sequestration, under national climate change policy.

BEAG researchers will look at the interplay between the sometimes opposing forces of carbon incentives provided by climate change policy and higher input costs in determining potential supply, price, and geographic impacts of biomass feedstocks. Estimates of the net impact of the 25 x '25 goals upon biomass's contribution to total emissions, energy use and net carbon flux will be reported as well as the potential impacts of the proposed carbon cap and trade policy.

The analysis will be released in three phases, starting with an agriculture component Sept. 15, followed by a livestock component Oct. 15 and a forestry component Nov. 15.

"We expect this analysis will provide critical information this fall for national policy makers as they debate major climate change legislation," said Rudgers. "The analysis will provide clear and objective data that can guide those who will determine the role of agriculture and forestry in a new climate change regulatory system."

For an electronic version of this announcement, go to www.25x25.org, click on "Newsroom" on the left-hand navigation bar, then click on "News Releases."

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