The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee passed climate change legislation on May 21, according to a Committee press release.

The legislation will set a national limit on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and create a cap and trade system that will enable sale of "carbon reduction" credits. It is likely that several other committees including the Agriculture Committee will take up the bill before it goes to the floor for a vote this summer.

"This legislation is a significant step forward toward curbing greenhouse gas emissions across the country and now creates real momentum for passage of a climate change bill in this Congress," said Jimmy Daukas, managing director of American Farmland Trust's Agriculture and Environment initiative. "However, it misses an enormous opportunity by not explicitly including a stronger role for agriculture in combating climate change."

"U.S. agriculture can help reduce GHG emissions by adopting new practices and technologies and by producing low-carbon renewable energy," he continued. "In the near term, carbon sequestration projects on agricultural lands are the easiest, most readily available, and cost efficient means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a meaningful scale."