Growing Returns

Selected tag(s): Microsoft

The market for grassland carbon credits is on the rise. Here’s why.

A new study from UC Davis found that “grasslands and rangelands are more resilient carbon sinks than forests in 21st century California.”

While forests remain vital to global climate mitigation efforts, the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires has heightened the need to explore additional carbon sinks in fire-prone regions. Grasslands lock carbon into the soil, and they don’t release it during wildfires.

Photo credit: Nicole Rosmarino, Executive Director of the Southern Plains Land Trust

It’s because of this resilient carbon-capturing power that grasslands and rangelands are essential to meeting climate goals. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are being converted into croplands at the highest rate in decades. Landowners converted 1.6 million acres of long-term grasslands – those that have existed for 20 years or more – into croplands between 2008 and 2012.

Record high land rental values make land conversion a compelling economic choice, but a new market opportunity may soon change this calculus. Read More »

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These farmers sparked agricultural carbon markets across the U.S.

Rice held by Jim Whitaker of Whitaker Farms

Rice held by Jim Whitaker of Whitaker Farms. Credit: Adam Jahiel.

I want to tell you a story about a handful of growers whose commitment to sustainability and desire to innovate inspired an ag carbon credit movement.

Today, the first ever carbon credits generated from rice farmers were sold to Microsoft, all because of a handful of pioneers who tested out a radical idea – that by implementing conservation methods on their crops, farmers could reduce methane emissions and thereby generate a carbon credit that could be later be sold on the carbon market. Not to mention the fact that these farmers also reduced water use by as much as 30 percent. Read More »

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A new decision-making tool for farmers: more climate data

Rebecca Shaw is participating in the First Working Meeting of the Global Alliance for climate-smart agriculture on December 17 and 18, taking place in Rome

Rebecca Shaw participated in the first working meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture on December 17 and 18 in Rome.

The President’s Climate Data Initiative launched earlier this year to bring vast amounts of government data together in one place for communities and businesses to use when making decisions in the face of climate change. Last week, the Department of Interior and other executive branch offices released more data specific to water and ecosystems, as well as new geospatial tools, that will help natural resource managers – including farmers – better prepare for the future.

The newly released data sets include critical information about stream flow, soil, land cover and biodiversity, and are complemented by tools that will enable users to visualize and overlay data sets related to ecosystems, land use, water and wildlife. Together, the new data and tools will help farmers build resilience to the impacts of changing weather. Read More »

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