Yesterday the California Air Resources Board (CARB) launched a rulemaking process to develop a rice carbon offset protocol. EDF is excited about the development of this protocol – it is a market-ready solution which paves the way for the agriculture sector to participate in California’s landmark cap-and-trade program. The agriculture sector represents a potential of more than 100 million metric tons by 2020. At today’s prices that represents more than $1 billion in carbon offsets revenue for growers and landowners.
Rice farmers are leading the way on developing crop-based offsets. This isn’t surprising. The rice industry has long been at the forefront of agricultural-environmental innovation – whether it is conserving critical habitat for 230 species of wildlife to modernizing irrigation and pesticide management. From research to modeling methane management practices to developing a protocol to pilot practices in the field, no other farming sector has done this amount of work to scientifically prove compliance-grade credits from the agriculture sector.
Through developing this protocol CARB sends a signal to rice farmers specifically and all farmers in general that growers can generate additional revenue by adopting practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions without having an adverse impact on yield. What is equally as important is to do this in a way that allows multiple landowners to aggregate their fields into a larger project that can reduce transaction costs.
EDF looks forward to continuing to work with CARB to develop protocols that generates high quality, environmentally sound offsets from U.S. agriculture.