- Category: Carbon Market
23 Jul 2012
- Published on Monday, 23 July 2012 11:48
- Hits (2749)
American farmers will soon be able to earn greenhouse gas offsets for reducing the amount of nitrogen they use to fertilize their crops, with the aid of a system developed by Michigan State University researchers
Researchers at Michigan State, with the support of the Electric Power Research Institute, have developed a nitrous oxide greenhouse gas reduction methodology for the American Carbon Registry.
This set of procedures will help farmers generate carbon credits and trade these for financial payments in return for reducing fertilizer use.
“The M.S.U - E.P.R.I. methodology uses an innovative approach to pay farmers to apply less nitrogen fertilizer, but more precisely so that crop yields aren’t jeopardized,” said Mr. Robertson.
Two global carbon market standards recognized worldwide have recognized the methodology. The methodology is also in its final stages of validation by the Verified Carbon Standard.
“Farmers already manage fertilizer to avoid large nitrogen losses, but they are often reluctant to further reduce fertilizer use because they fear doing so will decrease crop production,” said Phil Robertson, a crop and soil scientist and principal investigator for the new methodology.
While nitrogen may be good for plants, it’s not so good for water and air quality. Quantities of nitrogen can be lost from agricultural fields, and in the United States alone, agriculture accounts for almost 70 percent of nitrous oxide emissions linked with human activity.
Nitrogen oxide is one of the major gases contributing to human-induced climate change. It has a lifetime in the atmosphere of more than 100 years and a heat-trapping effect that is 300 times more than that of carbon dioxide.
"Improving the efficiency of nitrogen use for field crop agriculture holds great promise for helping mitigate climate change," Mr. Robertson says. – EcoSeed Staff