This September, a new crop will be made available to rice producers: carbon offsets.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) took another important step forward last week when it published the latest draft standard for the development of carbon offsets. The standard lays out the steps a producer needs to take in order to sell his new crop. Once it is approved, producers will be able grow and sell it as a new revenue stream.
So how does this work?
Rice fields are flooded as a part of growing this worldwide staple. It’s necessary for its growth. However, when water comes in contact with organic matter, the organic matter decomposes, generating methane – a strong greenhouse gas. By reducing the amount of methane generated through rice cultivation, a farmer can generate a carbon credit that can be sold to companies to offset their carbon emissions.
What are the practices that produce credits? Read More
The arrival of Spring can’t come soon enough for some, though it came early for the California offset market. Three significant events will spur the development of carbon offsets from rice cultivation. First, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) launched a rulemaking to adopt a compliance offset protocol for rice cultivation projects. The American Carbon Registry (ACR) also approved a rice protocol for the Mid-South (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas).
And at EDF we announced the listing of the first California rice offset project with ACR.
As a part of ARB’s rulemaking, they released a discussion draft of a compliance offset protocol. This protocol contained three different activities that growers can take to reduce the generation of methane associated with rice cultivation – dry seeding, early drainage, and alternate wetting and drying of fields. All of these practices have been developed using the latest science and have been shown to reduce methane generation without impacting yield. Methane is the second largest anthropogenic source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for 9% of all U.S. GHG emissions from human activities. Methane is also important because it is more than 20 times more potent a GHG than carbon dioxide. At the meeting, the ARB stated that they intend to propose the protocol for consideration at the September 2014 Board meeting. Read More