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Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Dairy Industry

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1009777.(doi:10.13031/2013.31999)
Authors:   Dawn S Chianese, Julia C Lester
Keywords:   Dairy, Greenhouse gases, Regulations

Climate change has become an increasingly important issue in the U.S. and has received more attention from policymakers in recent years. Several pieces of pending and approved legislation are focused on quantifying and, in some cases, mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from facilities and operations. These range from California-specific Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) to EPAs Mandatory Reporting Rule and GHG Tailoring Rule. Agriculture contributes approximately 6% of U.S. GHGs. Dairies emit only 11% of emissions from agriculture, or less than 1% of the total carbon footprint in the U.S. Despite the seemingly small contribution of agriculture to total GHG emissions, the agricultural sector will also be affected by legislation that is targeting large emitting sectors. Historically, air regulations tended to be applied differently to agriculture. As a result, the potential impacts to agriculture of any proposed regulation focused on climate change will likely differ from industrial, transportation, and energy sectors. This paper presents an overview of federal GHG legislation that may affect agricultural operations, particularly the dairy industry. It summarizes important differences among the legislation and discusses the potential impacts on existing and future dairy operations.

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