The US is one of the worst offenders when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and is one out of just five countries that produce most of the world’s greenhouse gas, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The department says that over the past two decades, US farmers have invested about $15 billion in green technologies, including building and maintaining more than a million solar panels and biofuel plants.
But that investment has produced little in the way of meaningful carbon savings, the report said.
The report, produced by the United States Climate Change Solutions Center, said that for every $1 in greenhouse gas savings realized by US farmers, the total amount of greenhouse gas produced by US farms would increase by $0.36.
That means farmers’ carbon dioxide emissions would increase over a 20-year period by $1.36, or 9.2 percent.
The biggest gains in emissions from green technologies came from building and improving feedlots, which have the potential to reduce emissions from farming by up to 10 percent.
And even then, the biggest gains would come in areas where there was little demand for energy.
In the case of the United Kingdom, the largest green technologies sector, the United Nations estimates that the country’s energy sector would save as much as $15.6 billion a year, on average.
The U.N. report also found that US farmers’ land use is a major driver of greenhouse gases.
US agriculture has a net carbon footprint of 7.5 billion tons annually, and US farmers account for nearly a quarter of that.
That makes it the biggest source of greenhouse gasses in the country, the USDA said.
More:US farm subsidies to farmers are projected to fall, as more farmers buy carbon offsets for their crops.
But the USDA report found that the federal government’s agricultural subsidy program has not kept pace with the cost of carbon offsets and has lost $1 billion in the past decade.