A USDA Climate Bank will accelerate adoption of climate-smart practices on working lands.
We see a pressing need for USDA to show leadership by creating financial incentives for land management innovation on hundreds of millions of acres of U.S. working lands to curb the effects of climate change. The USDA National Climate Bank (the Bank) should be created to finance a voluntary, non-regulatory initiative to bolster carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation by U.S. agriculture and forestry. Strong USDA investment and thought leadership will enable U.S. agriculture to harness the research, technical assistance, infrastructure, and market-based solutions needed to meet the challenge of a changing climate head on.
A USDA “Climate Bank” would finance, incentivize, and account for the climate-related contributions of U.S. agriculture and forestry, including from livestock management (e.g., grazing, enteric fermentation, and manure management). A Climate Bank, in partnership with farmers, ranchers, foresters, and the private sector, will accelerate adoption of climate-smart practices on working lands, helping to reduce U.S. emissions and in some cases delivering important co-benefits, like water quality and quantity, habitat, etc., while supporting producers. This Climate Bank should:
- Include all greenhouse gases (GHG) and food-, agriculture-, and forestry-related strategies, not just those related to carbon sequestration.
- Leverage private investment to spur the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices.
- Provide funding to producers to develop GHG credits that can co-finance climate outcomes with the support of private sector developers, recognizing and leveraging existing third-party standards.
Our concept note outlines the purpose, implementation guidance, and design and implementation options for designing a successful and broadly supported “Climate Bank” that leverages private sector actions and resources. Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the role that U.S. working lands can play, we urge USDA to expeditiously consider these elements when establishing a Climate Bank and/or other mechanisms to support climate-smart agriculture. We outline a suite of options that should be explored and piloted to vet their efficacy in terms of GHG outcomes and producer and landowner participation in keeping with the Bank’s purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions
USDA National Climate Bank
There are many questions about what establishing a Climate Bank means, its purpose and function, who will be eligible to participate, and the science surrounding measuring and verifying greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration. This Frequently Asked Questions document helps to answer these questions and inform the public conversation around a USDA National Climate Bank.
Concept Note - USDA National Climate Bank
Our Climate Bank Concept Note outlines the purpose, implementation guidance, and design and implementation options for designing a successful and broadly supported Bank.