Carbon Markets 101:
How Agriculture Players Can Reduce or Offset Carbon Emissions
Over time, human activities and industries have been increasing the atmospheric concentrations more quickly than natural activities. The good news is that there are solutions including carbon sequestions.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10% of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas, is emitted by the agricultural sector. While this is relatively a small portion of overall carbon dioxide emissions by the economic sector, agriculture has received a lot of attention in reducing overall GHG emissions recently.
The agriculture industry is viewing carbon markets as an opportunity to attract additional revenue while adopting production practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving soil health and yields, and potentially reducing input use. Various forms of carbon markets are being developed across the nation as companies attempt to reduce their own carbon footprint by offering payments to farmers to offset their own carbon emissions and to attract environmentally conscious consumers and investors.
Farmers can participate in this process by either reducing emissions or by capturing and storing emissions. To reduce emissions, producers could:
Agriculturists can also capture and store emissions in a process called sequestration. One type of sequestration is biological sequestration, which uses the characteristics of plants to capture emissions. Agricultural forms of biological sequestration include:
However, these activities are costly, and producers must have an economic incentive to change their production practices to participate in the carbon market.
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