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Grain Strorage
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

New problems arise for crop storage as planet gets warmer

Helping people understand the impacts of climate change on agriculture is important if we are going to prioritize solutions, including soil health, agricultural viability, and renewable energy that are compatible. When we think about farm and ranchland viability, climate change is going to be an increased stressor.

“There’s a big disconnect in our minds about the chain of events between the field and the grocery store and onto our plate,” [plant physiology scientist Courtney Leisner at Auburn University] said. “Just a few degrees can make all the difference in whether it’s economical to store the fruits and vegetables that we expect to have on our dinner table 365 days a year.”

Aside from potentially higher prices, climate change may worsen food shortages caused by spoilage. About 14% of food produced globally—and 20% of fruits and vegetables—goes bad between harvest and retail, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Wasted food is a significant source of greenhouse gases…

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Solar Panels And Tractor
Judy Anderson

Solar siting on farmland: lessons learned from across the northeast

We need to transition to renewables as soon as possible to save the lands and waters we all care about. That means a lot of renewables—and they can't all be installed on rooftops and brownfields. With farms going out of business, renewables can help them stay in business if they are done well. You can help people know what that means.

Are you interested in how farmland viability and solar can work together? Would you like to be able to share examples of projects that improve soil health, farm diversity, and stem the loss of farmland? You might be interested in watching American Farmland Trust Northeast’s recent webinar focusing on Connecticut policy opportunities and the various policies in the northeast.

Across the country farmland is being lost at an alarming rate: 2,000 acres of agricultural land are converted every day. With the push to transition off fossil fuels, solar development could take more out of production. But it doesn’t have to be that way. States could invest in elevated, compatible solar that could help farmers and ranchers stay in business and keep the land in production.

See what your region can glean from this webinar. There’s a window to lead on this.

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Tilled Farmland
Dan Gunderson | MPR News 2019

A ‘carbon bank’ could mean extra cash for Midwest farmers

Farming can be part of the climate solution with "climate-smart" farming practices. A lot of these practices are common sense, but with farming margins tight, many farmers and ranchers need economic assistance to make it happen. Check this out—and consider what your state can do.

A well-known Minnesota agribusiness hopes to turn climate change concern into cash for farmers.

Land O’Lakes, through its sustainability arm, Truterra, last week launched a carbon exchange program in which companies that want to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions can buy credits, and farmers get paid for increasing carbon storage in the soil…

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Sunbeam Over Grassland
Native

Medford Spring Grassland Conservation

“Grasslands store one-third of the Earth’s carbon, and just one acre of grassland can store an estimated 50 tonnes of carbon or more. Yet, in the U.S., over one million acres of grassland are still converted each year, which has the potential to release 50%-70% of the carbon they hold as carbon dioxide (CO₂).

The Medford Spring grasslands in southeastern Colorado are facing an imminent threat of conversion to cropland given its soils are suitable for farming, and cropland rental rates for winter wheat, milo, sorghum, alfalfa, and other row crops, are more than five times pastureland rates in Bent County, CO. A permanent conservation easement will preserve the grasslands and avoid conversion of the land to farming or development. This will prevent an estimated 190,000 tonnes of CO₂ from entering the atmosphere over the next 50 years. This is the equivalent of almost 208 million pounds of coal burned…”

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Golden Grasses
Climate Action Reserve

The Climate Action Reserve

“As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Climate Action Reserve encourages action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ensuring the environmental integrity and financial benefit of emissions reduction projects.

The Reserve establishes high quality standards for carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.

The Reserve offsets program demonstrates that high-quality carbon offsets foster real reductions in GHG pollution, support activities that reduce local air pollution, spur growth in new green technologies and allow emission reduction goals to be met at lower cost…”

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Sprouting Coin Stacks
Pixabay

BlackRock makes climate change central to its investment strategy

The shift by the nation’s leading money manager is sure to be closely watched by its rivals and the rest of corporate America. Is your local conservation group walking the walk and investing with climate in mind?

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will make sustainability and climate risks key tenets of its investing strategy, a move that its chief executive said should push financial institutions to prioritize climate change issues…

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” BlackRock chairman and chief executive Larry Fink said in his annual letter to chief executives. “But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

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Msu Uc Davis Alum
Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times

UC becomes nation’s largest university to divest fully from fossil fuels

Have the conservation organizations in your life faced the reality of the financial, and moral, status of their investments? All over the world nonprofits and financial institutions are divesting. This week it was announced that New York's $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks. The fund will divest from many fossil fuels in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040.

The University of California announced…that it has fully divested from all fossil fuels, the nation’s largest educational institution to do so as campaigns to fight climate change through investment strategies proliferate at campuses across the country.

The UC milestone capped a five-year effort to move the public research university system’s $126-billion portfolio into more environmentally sustainable investments, such as wind and solar energy. UC officials say their strategy is grounded in concerns about the planet’s future and in what makes financial sense.

“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement…

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White Man Divests
Richard Drew/Associated Press

New York’s $226 billion pension fund is dropping fossil fuel stocks

“New York State’s pension fund, one of the world’s largest and most influential investors, will drop many of its fossil fuel stocks in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040, the state comptroller said on Wednesday.

With $226 billion in assets, New York’s fund wields clout with other retirement funds and its decision to divest from fossil fuels could accelerate a broader shift in global markets away from oil and gas companies, energy experts and climate activists said…”

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World On A Dollar
Yale Climate Connections

Fighting climate change: Cheaper than ‘business as usual’ and better for the economy

The often-repeated and seldom-challenged view that climate change solutions are expensive and uneconomical has long dampened public support in the U.S. for even common-sense measures.

Seldom do proponents of those views enumerate the costs or mention the alternative costs of continuing to extract and burn fossil fuels to meet society’s energy needs. But in this era of costly hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, melting polar ice and rising sea levels, it should be obvious that the price of the status quo is already high and increasing. Failing to curb global warming has started bringing more frequent climate catastrophes with crushing economic and humanitarian costs. And prices of green technology solutions are falling rapidly; many are already cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives and will more than pay for themselves over time…

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Ag On A Rainy Day
USDA

New revenue option for ag producers to yield attractive returns

The Climate Trust will provide cash to help land trusts purchase no-till grassland conservation agreements from farmers and ranchers. This will make the lands eligible for the carbon market.

Oregon ranchers Dan and Suzy Probert grow cattle and healthy soil. And with the help of Farm Bill programs, they’re protecting the Lightning Creek Ranch from development as well as finding new revenue options like carbon trading markets…

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