Report: An ‘interventionist’ approach is needed to decarbonize agriculture

Congress should double agricultural research funding, now running at $4 billion a year, and direct the Agriculture Department to take a “more interventionist” role in decarbonizing agriculture, said a California think tank on Monday. “Ignoring food and farming innovation does not bode well for both decarbonization and the ability of farmers to continue to produce abundant food,” said the Breakthrough Institute in a report.

“For the state to lead on decarbonization, it must be able to target specific problems with specific policy solutions,” said the report. “The core idea that decarbonization can and should be done with intention — not haphazardly through market forces — is fundamental to an industrial policy-driven vision for decarbonization.”

The report said USDA’s role should begin with funding for research from its earliest stages and later help carry new technology through the “commercialization valley of death” by providing loan guarantees and cost-sharing payments. “Building out USDA’s capacity to support novel agricultural and food technologies will be a decades-long process.”

Agriculture is responsible for about 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

To read the report, click here.