A rural Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at
using the private sector to reduce greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere, while boosting the state's agricultural economy.
Rep. Clay Pope, D-Loyal, said that House Bill 1192, the Oklahoma
Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act, would create a 14-member
Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee to establish a system of
trading or marketing credits to reduce the accumulation of carbon
dioxide, which traps radiant energy and causes unnatural heating of
The idea involves a new concept prompted by an international
agreement to cut atmospheric emissions.
Three years ago, 160 nations signed the Kyoto Accord agreement to
limit atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide.
It provides for the establishment of a carbon sequestration
market. This means that consumers of fossil fuels such as utilities,
industries, and commuters could pay farmers and others who can
sequester carbon, for the right to put carbon dioxide into the
For example, a consortium of Canadian power companies is already
paying some Iowa producers for carbon credits called carbon dioxide
emission reduction credits.
Pope, a farmer/rancher, said the committee in his legislation
would also be responsible for recommending policies and programs to
maximize economic benefits for Oklahoma agricultural landowners
participating in carbon marketing and trading transactions.
"The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)
estimated carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas emitted by
fossil fuel combustion, deforestation and draining wetlands, is
adding about three and a half billion metric tons of carbon into the
atmosphere annually," said Pope, who chairs the House Revenue and
"Scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have
calculated that over the course of the next 50 to 100 years, between
40 billion and 80 billion metric tons of carbon might be absorbed in
agricultural soils by applying tried-and-true land management
practices," he said.
Some of those practices involve substitution of plowing by
reduced tillage; increased use of legumes such as alfalfa, clover,
and soybeans in rotation, and returning animal wastes to the soil.
Sequestering carbon in the soil -- burying it -- provides an
opportunity to reduce the amount of the potentially dangerous gas,
Reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide can be accomplished by:
* Increasing organic carbon production, trapping carbon within