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Evaluation of CO2 Emissions by Kansas Agribusiness Retailers

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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their negative effect on the environment is a growing concern in the world. It is estimated that agriculture is responsible for 7% of the total GHG emissions in the United States. Currently, environmental policies to regulate GHG are in place in different countries and are expected to increase in the future. The objective of this study was to estimate carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from eight agribusiness retailers in Kansas. Data consisted of energy inputs from the operation of the agribusiness retailers and the crop land these retailers serve. Carbon emission coefficients were employed to determine carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions associated with each energy input used during their operations. Results suggest that electricity is the largest source of total carbon dioxide emissions from the retail operations followed by diesel fuel, which represents the main source of direct emissions. Nitrogen fertilizers represent the main source of emissions from crop production. Emissions from the agricultural sector will not be regulated under the current American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 but information on their potential carbon footprint is useful knowledge. If agribusinesses were to be regulated, none of the eight retailers have locations that would be subject to the current cap and trade bill passed by the House of Representatives. But, if they were regulated and had to comply, the cost of partially offsetting their emissions by 5 to 20% would be low given estimations of future carbon prices in the literature. Even if agricultural retailers are not directly restricted, they will likely be affected by increases in energy input prices if such legislation is enacted.

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