Agricultural Land Conservation: An Important Part of California’s Climate Strategy

In 2015, the American Farmland Trust’s “A New Comparison of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from California Agricultural and Land Use” found that, on average, urban areas emit 58 times more greenhouse gases per acre than the state’s farmland. American Farmland Trust (AFT) has continued to analyze recent reports to assess the role of agricultural land conservation as a climate impact reduction strategy. The resulting research paper, “Agricultural Land Conservation: An Important Part of California’s Climate Strategy” (April, 2016) proposed a goal for reducing farmland conversion and associated GHG emissions: 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050. This publication helped lead to California setting a measurable goal for protection, first in its “Vibrant Communities and Landscapes” strategy document and, more recently, in a draft scoping plan for the Working Lands and Natural Resources pillar of its climate strategy. AFT continues to work with the Air Resources Board and others on details that will translate this goal into tangible results on the ground.