Climate Change



Natural processes and man-made changes to the environment has caused significant changes to the earth’s atmosphere due to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Because greenhouse gas emissions are linked to almost every industry, including agriculture, manufacturing and transportation, they must be considered when looking at the future of all these industries. Agriculture and forestry are somewhat unique in their ability to both produce and reduce greenhouse gasses. According to the EPA, agriculture in the United States accounts for 9% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The biological processes inherent in agriculture production, however, have the potential to allow agriculture to offset vastly more emissions than it produces. Read the full overview.

Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

New legislation will be added to this section as it becomes law.

Conservation Stewardship Program, 7 CFR Part 1470
Toxic Substance Control Act, 15 U.S.C. 2601-2697
National Forest Management Act of 1976, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1600-1687
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, 30 U.S.C. §§ 1201-1328
Ocean Dumping Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1401-1445
Federal Air Pollution and Control Act (Clean Air Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401-7671q
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901-6992k
National Energy Policy Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. §§ 15801-16539
Federal Land Policy and Management Act, 43 U.S.C. 1701-1787


Air Programs Regulations, 40 C.F.R. pts. 50-98
Water Programs Regulations, 40 C.F.R. pts. 100-149
Soild Waste Regulations, 40 C.F.R. pts. 239-299
Superfund, Emergency Planning, and Community Right-to-Know Programs, 40 C.F.R. 300-399
Energy Policy Regulations, 40 C.F.R. pts. 600-610
Air Pollution Controls Regulations, 40 C.F.R. pts. 1027-1074

Case Law

Case Law Index for Climate Change
Case Law Chart (compiled by Arnold and Porter LLP)

Administrative Law Decisions

EPA Office of Administrative Law Judges
Environmental Appeals Board
USDA Office of Administrative Law Judges
USDA National Appeals Division
USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions

Center Research Publications

Environmental Justice State Compilation (Rollins & Shehan, 2022)
Dealing with the USDA: Federal Administrative Law Basics (Kelley)
Managing Carbon in a World Economy: The Role of American Agriculture (Garry)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Climate Change
Environmental Issues

Agricultural Law Bibliography

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

Legal publications on Climate Change:

Environmental Issues
Energy Issues
Land Use Regulation

Reference Resources

Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Global Climate Change
Global Change National Program 204 FY2006 Annual Report
Mitigation of Climatic Change
Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide, and Pest Biology, Managing the Future: Coffee as a Case Study
Global Climate Change: What Can Farmers Expect?
Pollinators, global warming, and plant mating systems
USDA Research on Climate Change, Effects of Warmer Winters Published in PLOS ONE
Optimizing Agricultural Management to Mitigate Climate Change Impacts
Climate Change Impacts on Wind and Water Erosion on US Rangelands

ARS Research Labs Studying Climate Change:

U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center
Soil and Water Conservation Research
Southern Regional Research Center
Southern Regional Research Center: Food and Feed Safety Research
National Sedimentation Laboratory
Plant Science Research
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory


Developing practices for nutrient and byproducts to mitigate climate change, improve nutrient utilization, and reduce effects on environment (Beltsville Agricultural Research Center: Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory)
Development of crop phenotype database for climate change and crop modeling research (Beltsville Agricultural Research Center: Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory)
Climate change baseline assessment using merged, root-zone soil moisture product (soil merge, smerge) (Beltsville Agricultural Research Center: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory)
Long-term soil and crop management can be used to adapt to climate change by increasing soil health, nitrogen use efficiency, and productivity (Center for Agricultural Resources Research: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research)
Row crop production under climate change – assessment of sustainable management practices and soil additives in sand deposited fields (Crop Genetics Research)
Adaptation resources workbook for specialty crops: responding to climate change and variability in california and portions of arizona (Crops Pathology and Genetics Research)
Adapting perennial crops for climate change: graft transmissible effects of rootstocks on grapevine shoots (Grape Genetics Research)
Uncertainty of future water availability due to climate change and impacts on the long term sustainability and resilience of agricultural lands in the southern great plains  (Grazinglands Research Laboratory: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research)
Evaluating the effects of climate change on livestock physiology and well-being (Livestock Behavior Research)
Evaluating strategies to adapt northeast dairy cropping systems to climate change projections (Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research)
Remote sensing systems for precision agriculture to address issues in environmental and climate change (Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center: Aerial Application Technology Research)
Genebank genetic diversity management with respect to climate change and physiological stress (Vegetable Crops Research)
Ecological, ecophysiological and biochemical responses of native and alien cordgrasses and yellow flag iris to sea level rise with climate change (Western Regional Research Center: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research)
Climate Impacts on Agriculture: Implications for Forage and Rangeland Production (Izaurralde, Thompson, Morgan, Fay Polley & Hatfield)
Modelling Impacts of Climate Change: Case Studies using the New Generation of Erosion Models (Nunes, University of Portugal, 2011)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Climate and Health

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Climate Change Overview


Trends in U.S. Irrigated Agriculture: Increasing Resilience Under Water Supply Scarcity (Hrozencik & Aillery, 2021)
Resource Requirements of Food Demand in the United States (Canning et al., 2020)
Climate Change and Agricultural Risk Management Into the 21st Century (Crane-Droesch et al., 2019)
Development, Adoption, and Management of Drought-Tolerant Corn in the United States (McFadden, Smith, Wechsler & Wallander, 2019)
Climate Change Likely to Have Uneven Impacts on Agricultural Productivity (Wang, Nehring & Williams, 2019)
Climate Change Projected To Increase Cost of the Federal Crop Insurance Program due to Greater Insured Value and Yield Variability (Crane-Droesch, Marshall, Rosch & Wallander, 2019)
Tillage Intensity and Conservation Cropping in the United States (Claassen, Bowman, McFadden, Smith & Wallander, 2018)
Dedicated Energy Crops and Competition for Agricultural Land  (Sands et al., 2017)
Trends in U.S. Agriculture’s Consumption and Production of Energy: Renewable Power, Shale Energy, and Cellulosic Biomass (Hitaj & Suttles, 2016)
Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector (Marshall, et. al., 2015)
Using Crop Genetic Resources to Help Agriculture Adapt to Climate Change: Economics and Policy (Heisey & Rubenstien, 2015)
Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production (Key, Sneering & Marquardt, 2014)
Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate: Economic and Environmental Implications Vary by U.S. Region (Malcolm, Marshall, Aillery, Heisey, Livingston, Rubenstein, 2012)
Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations (Key & Sneeringer, 2011)
The Role of Agriculture in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (USDA Economic Research Service, 2010)
Agricultural Land Tenure and Carbon Offsets (Claassen and Morehart, 2009)
Environmental Credit Trading: Can Farming Benefit? (Rimbaud, et. al., 2006)
Is Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture Economically Feasible? (Lewandrowski, Amber Waves, 2006)
Economics of Sequestering Carbon in the U.S. Agricultural Sector (Lewandowski et al., 2004)
Climate Change and Food Security (Roy Darwin, 2001) 

Department of Energy (DOE)

Climate Change
Climate Change and the Electricity Sector: Guide for Climate Change Resilience Planning: September 2016
DOES Manual Studies Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration
Carbon Storage Research Program
Systems Biology to Advance Understanding of Carbon Cycling, Environmental Microbial Research

National Energy Technology Lab (NETL)

Carbon Storage Frequently Asked Questions
Carbon Capture Programs
Carbon Storage Atlas

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Climate Change
Agriculture and Climate
Climate Change Research
Implications of Climate Change
Understanding Global Warming Potentials
Climate Change Indicators in the United States
Climate Change Indicators: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Climate Adaptation
Climate Adaptation: Climate Adaptation Plan
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals
Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Conservation Reserve Program: Estimating Water Quality, Air Quality, and Soil Carbon Benefits of the CRP
Ecosystem Services Derived from Wetland Conservation Practices in the United States Prairie Pothole Region
USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry – Fact Sheet
Conservation Programs

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Conservation in a Changing Climate
Wildlife, Habitats and Our Changing Climate
Climate Change: National Wildlife Refuge System

U.S. Forest Service

Climate Change
Sustainability and Climate
Climate Change Projected to Affect Outdoor Recreation
National Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Story Map Update
Carbon Sequestration

U.S. Department of Agriculture- Climate Hubs

Climate Solutions
USDA Climate Hubs
USDA’s Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Climate Change
Climate Change: Adaptation, Mitigation, Resilience

Office of the Chief Economist (OCE)

Climate Change
Climate Change Adaptation
Climate Science and Effects
Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Mitigation
Climate Change Across USDA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Global Climate Change Indicators
Climate Program Office
Climate change impacts
Climate Change & Critical Thinking
NOAA Climate Change Web Portal

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

Climate Change
Opportunities for Managing Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agricultural Systems
COMET-Farm: Voluntary Reporting Carbon Management Tool
National Water and Climate Center
Climate Change Information Highlights

Congressional Resources

Congressional Budget Office: Climate Change

The Economic Effects of Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions (CBO, 2009)
The Use of Offsets to Reduce Greenhouse Gases (CBO, 2009)

Reports on Climate Change (Government Accountability Office)

Topic: Climate Change
Climate Change Trade Measures: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers (GAO-09-724R, 2009)
Climate Change Trade Measures: Estimating Industry Effects (GAO-09-875T, 2009)

Other Federal Resources

Climate Change (National Agricultural Library)
United States Global Change Research Program
U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program
Office of Global Change (U.S. Department of State)
Climate Research and Development Program (U.S. Geological Survey)
Carbon Sequestration to Mitigate Climate Change (U.S. Geological Survey)
Full Report: National Climate Assessment

International Resources

United Nations Environmental Programme – Climate Change
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
World Bank: Climate Change
European Environmental Agency
Agriculture and Climate Change (European Environment Agency)
The Paris Agreement (United Nations)

Regional Partnerships

Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership
Midwest Regional Carbon Initiative
Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership
Southwest Partnership
West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership

Additional Resources

The Ag & Food Law Update (National Agricultural Law Center)
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law (Columbia Law School)
Center for Climate & Energy Solutions
Georgetown Climate Center
Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
Climate Law Blog (Columbia Law School)


Agri-environmental Programs in the United States and Canada (Baylis et al., 2022)
Agriculture and Climate Change: Law and Governance in Support of Climate Smart Agriculture and International Climate Change Goals (FAO, 2020)
Climate Change and the Convergence of Environmental and Energy Law (Klass, 2017)
Carbon Sequestration Potential on Agricultural Lands: A Review of Current Science and Available Practices (Kane, 2015)
Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptations (USDA, 2012)
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2010)
The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems (USDA, 2009)
ABCs of Carbon Markets (Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler and Hagan PC, 2009)
Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation (International Food Policy Research Institute, 2009)
Climate Change: Implications for Food Safety (FAO, 2008)
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (NAS)
Understanding and Responding to Climate Change: Highlights of the National Academies Reports (National Academy of Sciences, 2005)
Carbon Sequestration Policy and Global Warming: A Legal Analysis (Thorson, 2001)
A Landowner’s Guide to Carbon Sequestration Credits (Central MN Regional Sustainable Development Partnership)
A Consumer’s Guide to Retail Offset Providers (Clean Air/Cool Planet, 2006)