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Nitrous oxide offsets methodology will let farmers take part in carbon markets, EPRI says

From the April 3, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 3, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson
The Electric Power Research Institute announced yesterday the approval of a methodology it developed with Michigan State University on nitrous oxide offsets for use in the Verified Carbon Standard greenhouse gas offsets program.
The methodology will make it possible for farmers to participate in carbon markets by reducing the amount of nitrogen used to fertilize crops, EPRI said. The offsets could be sold to other carbon market participants to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets or requirements.
Greenhouse gas offsets "can be an option for electric generators and other industries to reduce GHG emissions," EPRI said. As a compliance option for state or federal regulations, offsets allow companies to substitute the lower-cost GHG offsets for more expensive internal emissions reductions or buying carbon dioxide emission allowances, said the research organization.
"When farmers reduce their nitrogen fertilizer use, they can generate carbon offset credits, which can then be sold to other participants in the carbon markets," said Adam Diamant, technical executive at EPRI and co-author of the methodology. This approach "is a way to achieve a benefit for farmers and for industries that may be required to reduce their GHG emissions," he said.
Nitrogen fertilizers represent one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions from global agricultural production, resulting in significant emissions of nitrous oxide, EPRI said. This compound is a greenhouse gas that has "approximately 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide," EPRI said.
"This methodology helps farmers optimize their use of nitrogen fertilizer and make money at the same time," said Verified Carbon Standard CEO David Antonioli. "By applying less nitrate based fertilizer, farmers can generate offset credits and sell them on the open market, thereby benefiting the environment and their bottom line."
The VCS-approved version of the MSU-EPRI N2O offsets methodology is called VM0022: Quantifying N2O Emissions Reductions in Agricultural Crops through Nitrogen Fertilizer Rate Reduction. More information, including the supporting documents for the methodology, can be downloaded from the VCS website. Additional background information is available for download from EPRI’s website.


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

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Jeannine Anderson

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