Carbon cuts could save U.S. farmers billions of dollars

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would make droughts less costly

parched corn

CASH FOR CLIMATE ACTION   Cutting carbon emissions could curb droughts, saving the U.S. agriculture sector billions of dollars annually in the coming decades, researchers estimate.  

Dave Kosling/USDA

U.S. agriculture could reap big benefits from curbed carbon emissions. Such cuts would reduce the frequency and severity of future crop-parching droughts, saving American farmers billions of dollars annually by 2100, researchers calculate in the July issue of Weather, Climate and Society.

Calculating how changes in temperature and rainfall will affect future droughts, economist Brent Boehlert of MIT and colleagues estimate that large-scale climate action would save farmers about $980 million annually by 2050. More modest cuts would net savings of around $390 million annually. The two scenarios would keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 500 and 600 parts per million, respectively, compared with 1,750 ppm without mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

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