Our research efforts are focused on providing farmers with to best measure the carbon cycle through an agricultural ecosystems. Our goal is to shape environmental and economic policies that incentivize farmers to participate in environmental stewardship. We aim to see farms compensated for the ecosystem services that their stewardship provides.
Our policy goals are based on the economic principle of externalities. An externality is an unintended consequence of economic activity, wither positive or negative, that is quantifiable, but not valued within the economy itself. The cost of this consequence, therefore, is external to the economic equation. Pollution is a prime example: If a coal-fired power plant produced X amount of electricity per day, but also emitted Y amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the cost of the electricity is counted, but the negative impact of the CO2 is not.
Her is a scenario that explains externalities: Let’s say a farmer produced a crop using excess amounts of soluble fertilizer in order to make higher yields. The value of their crop would be counted towards the value of the national economy, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If, however, large amounts of the fertilizer applied were carried away by runoff, and ended up in a bay, causing destructive algal blooms that killed off large amounts of fish - the cost of this destruction would not be included in GDP. In other words, the value of his crop would not decrease based on the “external” costs of its production.
This example makes it clear that agriculture can produce significant negative externalities. However, agriculture is a unique industry in that farmers using regenerative management strategies can can generate positive externalities, including carbon and menthane sequestration, water purification, and increased biodiversity. A coal fired power plant can’t reverse its emissions and pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Farmers could eliminate fertilizer pollution by changing their land management practices. Within the framework of our current economic model, the benefits ( externalities) are not valued, and sequestration of carbon is not properly valued.
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Hudson Carbon works to demonstrate the powerful role of regenerative agricultural practices in reviving ecosystems and mitigating the effects of climate change.
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