Frequently Asked Questions
RIPE proposes that a quarter of the climate policy revenue be allocated to farmers, which RIPE estimates to be in the range of $20 billion to $50 billion annually through 2050. This level of funding is roughly six times greater than all the Farm Bill conservation programs, which is why there would be enough funds to shift from a cost-share payment model to a profit model. RIPE’s revenue projection comes from analysis of several carbon fee models, which include carbon price scenarios ranging from $15/ton of greenhouse gas to $300/ton between 2020 and 2050. We look forward to sharing more about our calculations with interested stakeholders.
Comprehensive climate policy designs typically include a carbon pollution fee levied on the energy sector. That is the biggest source of U.S. emissions and the pollution fee will shift the market to cleaner energy. The carbon fee could be levied as a tax, cap or credit purchase. There is a chance that a climate bill would not include this fee, and would look to general revenue, bonds and/or tax credits to pay for the climate policy. RIPE does not take a position on the specific funding mechanism.
Energy companies will have additional costs from a climate policy package and will likely pass along some share of those costs to consumers. RIPE supports protecting households with a sliding scale of support that fully protects low-income and middle-income households through the use of half of the carbon revenue.
Energy companies are expected to reduce their emissions over time and therefore have fewer emissions to tax, however, the price of carbon pollution will also rise over time. These trends offset each other, according to the Resources for the Future E3 model. The outcome is a stable revenue source for farmers from 2020 through 2050.
Yes! Farmers need high-speed internet access to adopt many stewardship practices, adapt to climate change and access clean energy market opportunities. Rural citizens and legislators across America are eager to access modern information technology. The federal funding gap to close the rural digital divide is $20 billion, according to FCC reports. RIPE supports fully funding this with a small portion of the carbon revenue.
The RIPE Roadmap differs by offering: a) guaranteed payment for all participating farmers; b) guaranteed price; c) much more available funding than a carbon market; d) no requirements for farm-level sensors; e) near-term opportunities using existing protocols; and f) a higher payment valued for carbon, water quality, other ecosystem services, and climate adaptation needs. RIPE payments would be additional to any private sector payments farmers receive. RIPE’s policy proposal builds on the success of private market efforts to pay farmers for their environmental services.
Several major agricultural trade groups have recently launched coalitions that are dedicated to evaluating various climate policy proposals and advancing a climate policy that is in the best interest of agriculture. RIPE is not currently associated with these groups. However, the RIPE Roadmap offers a particular policy pathway for these coalitions to consider. RIPE looks forward to engaging coalition members and other interested stakeholders with detailed briefings of the Roadmap for their consideration. If your trade group is part of a coalition and would like a briefing to learn more, please contact us.
Both Democrats and Republicans will value the opportunity this policy framework offers - helping reduce the causes of climate change and benefiting agriculture and rural America by: a) delivering a reliable revenue opportunity; b) closing the digital divide for rural America; and c) helping farmers comply with water regulations by providing a fully-funded incentive for voluntary practices. Farmers are provided voluntary incentives to change practices, if and when it meets their particular farm’s needs.
U.S. farmers will be significantly affected by rising temperatures, floods, droughts, and pests - and may lose up to $5 billion annually. For example, beef cattle farmers are projected to lose $44 million annually due to increased temperatures, while rice farmers may lose up to 20% of their annual yield by 2050. The RIPE Roadmap proposes Climate Adaptation Payments be made to all U.S. farmers to support the investments they need to make to adapt. Investments needed may include practices such as cover cropping - which help manage fluctuations in water supplies - and improved air conditioning systems for livestock operations.
The key distinction is that carbon farming and offset proposals pay farmers ONLY for the greenhouse gas value of their practices, which is roughly $23/acre for most climate-smart practices. Yet the cost of a climate policy on farmers averages roughly $50/acre from higher energy and fertilizer costs. So, while the carbon farming payment helps, most farmers are still left at a net economic loss. The RIPE Roadmap will deliver guaranteed payments for all farmers and, at a predetermined price, payments are designed to deliver a profit. The plan also avoids “additionality” requirements, verification demands, and penalizing early actors.
RIPE proposes paying farmers more of the stacked ecosystem service value of stewardship practices, which averages around $300/acre. Farmers would be paid not just for their carbon, but also for the water quality, air quality, biodiversity and other ecosystem services they provide. As illustrated in the chart below, the value to the environment and society from one acre that is sustainably farmed is significant. The RIPE Roadmap offers to compensate farmers to invest in valuable practices such as rotational grazing and conservation tillage. The RIPE Roadmap may offer compensation in the range of $100/acre, which gets us closer to the real societal value worthy of our investment. The main benefits provided by sustainable agriculture are: Health Benefits – avoided premature deaths from air pollution and avoided pesticide exposure, for a societal benefit averaging $144/acre. Clean Water from Nutrient Savings – estimated at an average of $112/acre. Climate Stabilization from avoided GHG – estimated at $23/acre based on a wide selection of crop BMPs typically referenced for GHG reduction opportunity - such as cover crops, precision nutrient management, organic, etc. - and valued at $42/ton of GHG avoided. One example of the low value of GHG comes from a study by USDA that found carbon sequestration value of EQIP practices was around $0.42/acre. If farmers only get paid for their GHG value, they will be hurt economically by a climate policy, but if farmers are also paid for the water and other benefits, it can transform into an economic opportunity.
For additional details on the RIPE Roadmap, please contact us at Info@RipeRoadmap.org.