Climate-Smart Farming Is a Lot Harder Than Manchin Bill Makes It Sound

"It’s past time to green the nation’s agriculture. But spending on biofuels and seaweed additives is the wrong way to do that."

"Almost everyone’s eager to finally claim a win on climate policy and move on: After over a year of negotiations and derailing the Democrats’ climate agenda multiple times, renowned fossil fuel booster Joe Manchin has finally thrown his support behind $370 billion worth of subsidies and rebates for renewable and efficient energy, including solar panels, heat pumps, and electric vehicles. All of these technologies included in the rebranded Inflation Reduction Act have strong and proven potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While it’s not nearly enough to get us to zero emissions—most worryingly, it does not immediately curtail fossil fuel extraction—it’s a leap in the right direction, in that it should help renewable energy outcompete fossil fuels.

But there’s another set of provisions in this bill that is far murkier: tens of billions of dollars in “climate-smart” agriculture investments. The incentives this money will be used for are a mixed and confusing bag. Some of these investments are good. Some, however, are of uncertain value, and some are downright bad—supporting initiatives that could actually lead to more land clearing, fertilizer use, and intensive animal breeding, all of which may create more emissions rather than less."

Matthew Hayek and Jan Dutkiewicz report for the New Republic August 2, 2022.

Source: New Republic, 08/03/2022