Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Internship Program

Over the years Bruce McCarl has worked in a number of areas generating contributions.  Here statements are made about a number of the broad areas in which he has worked indicating key publications and some of the findings arising from these efforts.

The following clickable table of contents lists these areas

  1.  Applied Areas
  2. Methodological Investigations
  3. Education
  4. Outreach

1       Applied Areas

1.1      Climate Change

Dr. McCarl began work on the agricultural and forestry effects of climate change in 1985 and in 1989 on climate change mitigation through greenhouse gas emission control. 

1.1.1    Climate Change Effects

McCarl’s work on agricultural and forestry effects of climate change was initially done with Richard Adams then later with a variety of others including Chi Chung Chen.

McCarl’s work on agricultural and forestry effects of climate change was initially done with Richard Adams then later with a variety of others including Chi Chung Chen.

·       The work has examined benefits and costs of climate change largely on agriculture and forestry.  Initial work appeared in a chapter of the 1989 EPA report to Congress

Adams, R.M., J.D. Glyer, and B.A. McCarl, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change on US Agriculture: A Preliminary Assessment,” in Potential Effects of Global Climate Change on the United States, EPA Report to Congress, 1989.

and was also reported in the paper

Adams, R.M., C. Rosenzweig, R.M. Peart, J.T. Richie, B.A. McCarl, J.D. Glyer, R.B. Curry, J.W. Jones, K.J. Boote and L.H. Allen. “Global Climate Change and U.S. Agriculture.” Nature. 345(1990):219‑224.  (McCarl wrote first draft) which has 204 SSCI citations. 

Subsequently he has been engaged in reevaluations to include adaptation, pesticides, extreme effects, livestock, and irrigation water supply.  The most recent was the US Global Climate Change Research Program National Assessment leading to

Reilly J, Tubiello F, McCarl B, Abler D, Darwin R, Fuglie K, Hollinger S, Izaurralde C, Jagtap S, Jones J, Mearns L, Ojima D, Paul E, Paustian K, Riha S, Rosenberg N, Rosenzweig C.  “US Agriculture And Climate Change: New Results.” Climatic Change 57 (1-2): 43-69 Mar 2003  (21 SSCI cites)

US wide Forestry economic implications were addressed for the first time as in

Irland, L.C., D.M. Adams, R.J. Alig, C.J. Betz, C.C. Chen, M. Hutchins, B.A. McCarl, K. Skog, and B.L. Sohngen, “Assessing Socioeconomic Impacts of Climate Change on US Forests, Wood-Product Markets and Forest Recreation,” Bioscience, 51(9), 753-764, 2001.  (9 SSCI cites)

This body of work was influential in introducing concepts and expanding consideration indicating that climate change

  • Will not be a disaster for food or timber supply
  • Can be beneficial,
  • Have economic benefits and costs that are quite sensitive to CO2 effects, adaptation, pest effects, enhanced extreme event effects, and northward shifts in cropping patterns among other items.
  • These and subsequent effects appraisals have become prominent in the international climate change debate and the UN IPCC process.
  • A number of related papers are on

1.1.1 Climate Change Mitigation

In the late 1980’s McCarl’s climate change work began to examine the role agriculture and forestry could play in mitigating climate change through sequestration, GHG emission offsets or emission reduction. The work was done with Richard Adams, Darius Adams, Ralph Alig, Ching-Cheng Chang, and Mac Callaway then later with Brian Murray, Uwe Schneider and Heng-Chi Lee among others. McCarl served as lead sectoral analyst throughout and led economic analysis activity on the later efforts.

  • Initial work examined the role agriculture and forestry could play in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions looking at livestock, trees and rice.  Work in this regard appeared in the report
  • Adams, R.M., D.M. Adams, J.M. Callaway, C.C. Chang, and B.A. McCarl. “Sequestering Carbon on Agricultural Land: A Social Cost and Impacts on Timber Markets” Contemporary Policy Issues. 11(1993):76-87. (SSCI 36 cites)
  • This was followed by development of the forest and agricultural sector model (FASOM) that was used to address forestry issues as reported in
  • Adams, D.M., R.J. Alig., B.A. McCarl, J.M. Callaway and S.M. Winnett, “Minimum Cost Strategies for Sequestering Carbon in Forests”, Land Economics, 75(3), 360-374, 1999. (33 SSCI cites)
  • McCarl then turned his attention with students Uwe Schneider and Heng-Chi Lee to a portfolio agricultural then later forestry response as reported in
  • McCarl B.A. and U.A. Schneider, “The Cost of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in U.S. Agriculture and Forestry”, Science, 294 (21 Dec), 2481-2482, 2001.  (33 SSCI cites)
  • Lee, H-C., B.A. McCarl, and D. Gillig, “The Dynamic Competitiveness of US Agricultural and Forest Carbon Sequestration,” Canadian Journal of Agricultural  Economics, 5, 343-357, 2005.
  • then later with EPA policy groups in
  • Murray, B.C., A.J. Sommer, B. Depro, B.L. Sohngen, B.A. McCarl, D. Gillig, B. de Angelo, and K. Andrasko, Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential in US Forestry and Agriculture, EPA Report 430-R-05-006, November, 2005.
  • Subsequent attention was paid to fungibility and dynamic issues

Across this body of work fundamental insights were generated on the

  • Scope of agricultural possibilities,
  • Possible market obstacles,
  • Agricultural strategies as a bridge to the future,
  • Sizes of sequestration, biofuel, afforestation non co2 and other possibilities. 

McCarl has presented this work all over the world and is a lead author on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Mitigation report.

A number of related papers are on

1.2      El Niño Forecasting

In 1992 McCarl began work with Rich Adams and Rodney Weiher at NOAA on the agricultural economic value of forecasts and adaptive information regarding the El Niño, Southern Oscillation phenomenon.  This was done in a value of information framework where agricultural crop mixes were allowed to be adjusted with and without ENSO information.  McCarl was again the lead sectoral analyst and led the empirical analysis.

  • Initial efforts were done on the South Eastern US in

Adams, R.M., K.J. Bryant, B.A. McCarl, D.M. Legler, J.J. O’Brien, A. Solow, and R. Weiher. “Value of Improved Long-Range Weather Information.” Contemporary Economic Policy. 13(1995):10-19.  (49 SSCI cites)

  • This was followed with a national study
  • Solow, A.R., R.M. Adams, K.J. Bryant, D.M. Legler, J.J. O’Brien, B.A. McCarl, W.I. Nayda and R. Weiher, “The Value of Improved ENSO Prediction to U.S. Agriculture”, Climatic Change, 39, 47-60, 1998. (31 SSCI cites)
  • Subsequently McCarl with Chi-Chung Chen and others turned attention to a number of extensions addressing
  • Effects in South-Central Texas where the signal is strong.
  • Chen, C.C., D. Gillig, B.A. McCarl, and R.L. Williams, “ENSO Impacts on Regional Water Management: A Case Study of the Edwards Aquifer Region,” Climate Research, 28 (2), 175-182, 2005.
  • Interrelationships with climate change
  • Chen, C.C., B.A. McCarl, and R.M. Adams, “Economic Implications of Potential Climate Change Induced ENSO Frequency and Strength Shifts,” Climatic Change, 49, 147-159, 2001. (9 SSCI cites)
  • Effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation

Kim, M-K., and B.A. McCarl, “An Investigation of the Yield and Production Effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation,” Climatic Change, 71, 117-139, 2004.

  • Influence of considering event strength
  • Chen, C.C., and B.A. McCarl, “The Value of ENSO Information to Agriculture: Consideration of Event Strength and Trade,” Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 25, Number 2 (December), 368-385, 2000.
  • Effects of improved event characterizations
  • Cost of the large 1998 El Niño

This work provided the first sector wide appraisal of this phenomena showing substantial value regionally and nationally to ENSO information and was used in supporting NOAA budget requests to Congress and a report to NASULGC.

This work and follow ups are on

1.3 Biofuels

McCarl began to address agriculture and bioenergy in the late 1970’s in conjunction with Wally Tyner and Otto Doering.  His program has revisited this topic regularly over the years since then particularly since 1995 in association with work on climate change mitigation particularly with Uwe Schneider and Dhazn Gillig.  Examples of this work are

  • Developed the first sector wide economic appraisal of bioenergy prospects from agriculture and later the linked agriculture and forestry sectors.  Served as lead sectoral analyst on a late 1970’s OTA project reported below that considered corn and cellulosic ethanol well in advance of today’s activity.  Showed biofuel production to be non economic at the time.  Reported to policy circles in
  • Tyner, W., B.A. McCarl, M. Abdallah, C. Bottum, O.C. Doering III, W.L. Miller, B. Liljedahl, R.M. Peart, C. Richey, S. Barber, and V. Lechtenberg, The Potential of Producing Energy From Agriculture, Final Report to Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, Purdue School of Agriculture, 1979.
  • Turned attention in mid 1990s to biofuels as a way to mitigate climate change related greenhouse gas emissions focusing on electricity and liquid fuels subsequently preceding and fostering development of a lot of interest in EPA, USDA and lately globally. Work on this appeared in
  • McCarl, B.A., D.M. Adams, R.J. Alig, and J.T. Chmelik, “Analysis of Biomass Fueled Electrical Power Plants: Implications in the Agricultural and Forestry Sectors,” Annals of Operations Research, 94, 37-55, 2000. (6 SSCI Cites)
  • McCarl B.A. and U.A. Schneider, “The Cost of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in U.S. Agriculture and Forestry”, Science, 294 (21 Dec), 2481-2482, 2001. 33 SSCI cites
  • McCarl, B.A. and U.A. Schneider, “U. S. Agriculture’s Role in a Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation World: An Economic Perspective”, Review of Agricultural Economics, 22(1), 134-159, 2000.23 SSCI cites.
  • Schneider, U.A., and B.A. McCarl, “Implications of a Carbon Based Energy Tax for US Agriculture,” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, volume 34(2). October, 265-279, 2005.
  • Recently McCarl has highlighted greenhouse gas implications of biofuels across possibilities for producing biodiesel, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol and biofeedstock fueled electric power.  This resulted in a paper being used in an emerging report led by former Senators Dole and Daschle.  It has also supported presentations in the last year at 2 professional meetings, USDA and EPA meetings, Outreach meetings at Ohio State and University of Illinois, 3 presentations in Taiwan, the National Biodiesel Meetings and the Texas Renewable Fuel Society.

This and other McCarl biofuel related work is on his web page at

1.4 Other Resources

McCarl has worked on a number of other issues like water and air quality which are overviewed below along with other work on soil conservation, and fisheries.

1.4.1 Water

Beginning at Purdue McCarl examined issues involving water in largely an intersectoral trading context and in alliance with environmental quality issues particularly in the context of Texas groundwater and the Edwards Aquifer with Carl Dillon, Keith Keplinger and Lynn Williams.

This work has led to papers like:

Keplinger, K.O., B.A. McCarl,, M.E. Chowdhury and R.D. Lacewell, “Economic and Hydrologic Implications of Implementing a Dry Year Option for the Edwards Aquifer “, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 23(1), 191-205, 1998. (15 SSCI cites)

McCarl, B.A., K.O. Keplinger, C.R. Dillon, and R.L. Williams, “Limiting Pumping from the Edwards Aquifer: An Economic Investigation of Proposals, Water Markets and Springflow Guarantees,” Water Resources Research, 35(4), 1257-1268, 1999. (9 SSCI cites)

Contributions include analysis of a number of issues in setting up ground water markets in Texas and then in ways of modeling intersectoral tradeoffs.

Substantial work has also been done on including irrigation concerns in agricultural sector and climate change analyses that have been followed by others as discussed in the sector modeling section below.  Sample work appears on

1.4.2 Air Quality

McCarl and Richard Adams did a number of studies in the early 1980s on ozone and acid rain among other air quality issues.  The ozone work ended up in a major EPA report and was used in justifying provisions of the Clean Air act.  Contributions include

Adams, R.M., J.D. Glyer, S.L. Johnson, and B.A. McCarl. “A Reassessment of the Economic Effects of Ozone on U.S. Agriculture.” Journal of Air Pollution Control Association. 39(1989):960‑968. (36 SSCI cites)

Adams, R.M., S.A. Hamilton, and B.A. McCarl. “The Benefits of Pollution Control: The Case of Ozone and U.S. Agriculture.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 68(1986):886‑893.  (22 SSCI cites)

Adams, R.M., J.M. Callaway, and B.A. McCarl, “Pollution, Agriculture and Social Welfare: The Case of Acid Deposition,” Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 34, 3-19, 1986. (6 SSCI cites)