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Abstract

Using life cycle assessment methodology, this analysis evaluates how two carbon reduction strategies affect cotton plantings regionally and methods used to produce cotton. Because cotton production emits large amounts of carbon, the design of a reduction policy as either excluding soil sequestration through cap-and-trade or including it through carbon offset is likely to affect the success of the policy. A cap-and-trade program that ignores the amount of carbon cotton would sequester in the soil during its life cycle could increase net emissions by rewarding producers whose crops emit limited carbon directly but also sequester little carbon in the ground.

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