Carbon Offset Program Poised for National Rollout

Posted in: Environment     

Farmers across Canada may soon be able to participate in a carbon-credit offset program under Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions legislation that is currently available only to Alberta growers.
Last December, Canada as well as the planet’s largest GHG emitting countries — the U.S., Russia, China and India —signed COP21.
Known as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the deal was celebrated as one of the most significant moves forward in the fight against global warming and climate change.
The 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP21) committed the 195 countries signing up to it to limit their collective emissions so that the effects of global warming would not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, with a further aspiration to try and keep it within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
The agreement includes a carbon offset template open to the general public in countries that signed on. This provision could mean that the carbon offset program now available only in Alberta would be rolled out across Canada, available to the general public — including farmers.
One of Alberta’s agricultural protocols — known as NERP, or the Nitrous Oxide Emission Protocol — has been called a suitable blueprint for other provinces, as it was designed to meet international standards for improving nitrogen management in cropping systems and estimating the nitrous oxide reduction associated with better nitrogen management.
The Ontario government is currently considering a version of NERP, and insiders speculate that it could soon be rolled out across Canada.
The agricultural sector generates approximately 10% of the GHG emissions across Canada. However, since 2007, over 11 million tonnes of CO2e have been removed from the atmosphere in Alberta by improving agricultural management. This compares to removing over 2 million cars from the road. These emission Offsets have generated an estimated $100 million to Alberta farmers.

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