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USA: How Farmers Could Be the New Climate Warriors With Agricultural Carbon Credits

Environmental advocates have all but given up on their long-cherished goal of a federally-mandated cap-and-trade program to rein in carbon emissions, given the present state of gridlock on Capitol Hill. But amid protracted hemming and hawingover how such a system would stack up against carbon taxes or other broad incentives to reduce emissions, the state of California has stepped in where Washington policymakers fear to tread.

California formed its own state-mandated carbon market in 2012, restricting the emissions of 600 of the state’s biggest polluters, who produce 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions statewide. Lowering the “cap” will slash emissions in the state 16 percent by 2020. More recently, the California Air Resources Board, which oversees the state’s carbon market, linked arms with allies north of the border—Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba—to ink an agreement that will integrate the three Canadian provinces’ carbon markets with California’s in the coming years. Struck at December’s United Nations climate change summit in Paris, the deal makes environmentalists’ dream of an ad-hoc North American carbon market seem actually plausible. It’s precisely the sort of regional cooperation that President Barack Obama encouraged in the Clean Power Plan he released last summer.

Daniel Brock

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