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☁️ "Sowing Seeds of Innovation with Agriculture Offsets"

Switched On

Host: Dana Perkins
Guest: Kyle Harrison | Head of Sustainability Research | BNEF
Category: ☁️ Carbon | Agriculture Carbon Offsets

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:35] KH: "When we talk about agriculture carbon offsets, we are thinking about avoiding or removing emissions from any sustainable practice in agriculture. So that can be something like more sustainable management of manure, or feeding livestock different food, so that their digestion process changes and they emit less methane. But it could also be the way that we change the water usage, for example for rice cultivation."

[4:24] KH: "Around 11 to 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions [are] coming from agriculture. And so there's a huge role to play here by [...] employing sustainable practices to reduce those emissions."

[5:12] KH: "[Today] you're looking at between 200 and 300 million carbon offsets being issued on an annual basis. The record in terms of carbon offset issuance in the agriculture space to date was 1.5 million carbon offsets in 2017. That supply has actually dropped year on year since 2017. So a very, very tiny percent of the market on registry comes from agriculture today."

[5:39] KH: "There is this important part of the agriculture offset market that makes it quite unique. And that is the fact that there is a thriving what we call an off-registry ecosystem. [...] When you buy a carbon offset today, a lot of projects are listed on a registry. The biggest ones are Verra [...] and the American Carbon Registry, for example. And there can be quite expensive fees for listing those projects on-registry. So what you see in the agriculture space is a lot of small farmers that are adopting sustainable agricultural practices, they'll sell their offsets on marketplaces that are off-registry. So for example, they'll go through companies like Nori, where they bypass that fee for listing their project. And then they can sell those offsets directly to customers off-registry. So it's a little bit difficult to say, just how big the overall market is."

[26:53] KH: "A huge chunk of carbon emissions from the agriculture space today come from a process that we call enteric fermentation. [...] When a cow or various cattle digests the food that they eat, it produces methane. [...] In the United States enteric fermentation makes up roughly around 29 to 30% of emissions that come from the agriculture space.[...] And that's a huge opportunity, of course, for carbon offset creation. So there's a lot of investment also going into areas like feed additives. So can we feed cattle more sustainable foods that limit the climate impact of that enteric fermentation process?"

[29:13] KH: "A lot of the potential abatement goes into strengthening soil. [...] One [practice] for example, is planting trees in agricultural lands, [which] further builds up the amount of roots underground that can store soil, but it also prevents runoff. [...] There's things like avoided grassland conversion [...] [or] grazing lagoons, [which] means planting certain crops on the soil that had the sole intention of strengthening the roots underground within the soil. And then there's also things like nutrient management. [...] These practices can lead to around between 4 to 5 gigatons of potential carbon abatement on an annual basis by 2050."

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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🗓️ 10/28/2022
✅ Time saved: 42 min