The challenges and opportunities facing today's agriculture within the climate change context are at least twofold: in addition to adapting to a potentially more variable climate, agriculture may also take on the addition role of mitigating GHG emissions—such as providing renewable fuels to replace fossil fuels to some extent. For the US, a large-scale GHG mitigation effort through biofuels production pursuant to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) is already unfolding. A question thus naturally arises for the RFS2-relevant US agricultural sector: will climate change make it harder to meet the volume goals set in the RFS2 mandates, considering that both climate change and RFS2 may have significant impacts on US agriculture? The agricultural component of FASOMGHG that models the land use allocation within the conterminous US agricultural sector is employed to investigate the effects of climate change (with autonomous adaptation at farm level), coupled with RFS2, on US agriculture. The analysis shows that climate change eases the burden of meeting the RFS2 mandates increasing consumer welfare while decreasing producer welfare. The results also show that climate change encourages a more diversified use of biofuel feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol production, in particular crop residues.
US agriculture under climate change: An examination of climate change effects on ease of achieving RFS2