Should agriculture count as a carbon offset?

"If a cow burps, how do you measure it?" (best NYT subhead ever): Debate over whether to include agriculture in the Waxman-Markey climate legislation is heating up between supporters of agricultural offsets, which fund projects like methane capture systems over CAFO animal-waste lagoons, and those who say current agricultural practices are the problem, not the solution. This evenhanded, must-read article mentions that the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog, "ranked forestation and 'agriculture soil carbon' near the bottom of a list of 'very credible projects'" and the Environmental Defense Fund's list of high-quality potential projects did not include any agriculture or forestry efforts, except those involving methane capture. Something else we didn't know: "For an offset to truly be an offset, it needs to be a new project that would not have occurred without offset funding," and it also needs to be something that the rest of the world can implement. (New York Times)

2 Responsesto “Should agriculture count as a carbon offset?”

  1. “For an offset to truly be an offset, it needs to be a new project that would not have occurred without offset funding,” and it also needs to be something that the rest of the world can implement.

    Bogus. Our farm's fields and forest soak up 1,400 tons of carbon (at minimum) per year. If they're going to start counting carbon credits then they owe me. Otherwise its theft for them to sell my carbon credits without paying me for them.

  2. Robert Driver says:

    It's more than bogus.  Our 500 acres of almond, apricot, cherry, and walnut orchards soak up 35,000 tons of CO2 per year (100 trees/acre) x (2000 lbs * 75%).  That's in addition to collecting soot and dust and other PM10 particles. It's urban guilt.  People living in highly developed societies are now feeling guilty about the blessings of shelter, safe food, and healthy living conditions. Farmers were the first environmentalists - long before it became a popular urban religion.  We were early adopters of reduced tillage, integrated pest control, and micro irrigation.  Why?  Because it made good economic sense and provided better stewardship of the precious assets that God so graciously let us manage. All of you guilty urbanites are "johnny come lately".  Welcome to the world that we've been living in for generations - but don't regulate and tax us out of business - because you'll be buying your food from countries that don't give a damn about the environment and us.