The U.S. Department of Agriculture could potentially spend part of its budget for water quality improvements seven to 12 times more cost effectively than it does now. A new WRI analysis shows how, explains why USDA isn’t already doing so, and proposes ways to make a complex policy a reality.
WRI established its U.S. office in 1982. We work to improve water quality, increase awareness of local climate change impacts, and identify cost-effective emissions-reduction opportunities in the United States. Learn more about our Eutrophication and Hypoxia, Water Quality Trading, U.S. Local Climate Impacts Initiative, and U.S. Climate Action projects.
For more than 30 years, the USDA has worked to reduce water pollution by offering farmers throughout the nation financial and technical help to put conservation measures in place. While these efforts have successfully addressed environmental problems at the individual farm level—such as soil erosion—agriculture remains a key source of water pollution.
However, it’s only a small portion of farms that generate the majority of agriculture’s contribution to U.S. water pollution. New research shows that targeting conservation funds to these farms with the most potential to reduce pollution could be up to 12 times more cost effective than the usual practice of disbursing funds widely. And encouragingly, a new USDA program aims to capitalize on a similar targeted approach.
A National Modeling Analysis on Increasing Cost Effectiveness Through Better Targeting of U.S. Farm Conservation Funds
In this second installment of our 3-part series on better targeting of U.S. farm conservation funds, WRI found that combining geographic targeting with benefit-cost principles could potentially yield seven to 12 times...
Providing guidance on how to better target agricultural conservation in the United States, to cost-effectively achieve measurable improvements in water quality.
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its Clean Power Plan, the first time the United States has set standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Plan sets emissions reduction goals for individual states; once the goals are finalized next year, states will develop plans to achieve the necessary reductions. EPA’s modeling indicates that the standards will reduce national carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Luncheon to honor Pamela P. Flaherty, Citi and Citi Foundation, and James A. Harmon, Caravel Fund and WRI Chairman
June 6, 2014—The World Resources Institute (WRI) will host its 2014 Courage to Lead luncheon on June 12, honoring leaders who are tackling global environmental and economic development challenges.
The EPA's proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants is a critical step in avoiding the worst consequences of global warming. Without significant reductions from the power sector—America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—the country cannot meet its goal of reducing its emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. EPA’s proposal provides a flexible framework that puts those reductions within reach.
Here’s a look at how the proposed rule would impact states and the future of U.S. climate action.
To this day, carbon pollution—the main driver of climate change—has not been controlled from power plants.
That’s why the U.S. EPA’s new rules are so momentous, putting federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time. With the power sector representing a third of America’s carbon footprint, these rules are the biggest single action the administration can take to drive down greenhouse gases.
In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed emissions standards on existing power plants, World Resources Institute board members released the following statements:
Felipe Calderón, former President of México, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and Board Member, WRI:
“I would like to congratulate President Obama on this bold move to reduce carbon emissions in the United States.