Carbon offsets and other emission reducing technologies in Agriculture

Nowadays, most of the energy humanity uses daily is from fossil fuels. The latest report determines that modern most influential businesses still rely on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels altogether account for 84% of the world’s leading energy consumption and create carbon emissions, also known as carbon footprint.

Increasing fossil fuel emissions are closely related to human activities.

According to the study of Oxfam International, only the wealthiest 10% of people produce half of the planet’s fossil fuel emission through manufacturing to supply chain processes in their industries.

However, every person on the Earth contributes to this unstoppable process by using energy for devices when they are not using it, utilizing non-reusable or non-recycled goods, and using our cars when we can easily cover the distance by foot. All these actions combined result in a carbon footprint and accelerating climate change.

Agriculture also is a massive contributor to the carbon footprint — land-use activities, crop production, and supply chain processes responsible for 1/4 of the world’s GHG emissions, it’s near to 14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (detailed research on the image below).

Image 1. Global GHGs Emissions from Agriculture. Data source: Joseph Poore & Thomas Nemasek. Image source: Out World in Data (https://ourworldindata.org/)

Fortunately, the solution for this challenge exists, and the number of organizations reducing their footprint is growing day by day.

What are Carbon Credits, and how do they work in Agriculture?

To limit global warming to 1.5° C, following the Paris Agreement, we need to halve current levels of Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2030 and reduce them to «net zero» by 2050.

Carbon credits, along with carbon markets, were implemented by the government to moderate the increase of Greenhouse Gases by setting a limit on how much pollution can produce one company for one year.

Photo by Maksym Diachenko on Unsplash

Let’s look at the example of carbon offsets in agriculture in the State of Alberta.

There are 19 offsets protocols in Alberta, of which three relate to agriculture (two regarding crop production and land use, and one — livestock).

Reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions.

The NERP Protocol (Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Emissions Reduction Protocol) is based on increasing the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers, introducing more to the crop and less to the air in the form of nitrous oxide, a hazardous greenhouse gas.

Crop preservation.

The protocol is based on direct or double-pass seeding that increases organic matter and accumulated carbon in the soil. Any soil disturbance shall be as specified in the report.

Buy Carbon Offset — reduce Carbon Footprint.

The ultimate goal of carbon offset is to reduce the GHG pollutions into the atmosphere.

The money spent on carbon offsets is put toward emission reduction programs. It allows companies or individuals to invest in environmental projects worldwide. Carbon offsets finance projects such as solar farms or the implementation of clean energy technologies. Also, it could include planting new trees to reduce carbon emissions or increase the capacity of the environment to absorb emissions.

So, along with offsetting the emissions, producers also support more sustainable forms of growth.

Can Carbon Offsets mitigate climate change?

Well, of course, they might do it. But what is the efficiency of these changes?

We are familiar with two highly different ways to answer this question.

Provide us with your view on this topic — write in comments!

On the one hand, carbon offsets still are not verified, and companies are unsure if they do what they are supposed to do.

This scheme is criticized as just a “legal” way that allows polluters to pollute as their pollutions are being “neutralized.”

On the other hand, the followers of carbon offsets mention that they are effective only if the companies have done all their best to reduce air pollution from their side: tightened manufacturing processes, switched their transport into cleaner fuels, implemented recyclable materials. In this case, purchasing carbon offsets is makes sense.

This system might not be the most reliable solution to combat climate change in a limited time. However, carbon offsets provide time to develop new technologies in agriculture to adapt to a new low-carbon economy. So, it might buy time on the way to something innovative.

Remote Sensing satellite data to monitor carbon emissions.

The AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use) report claims that the environment gets 20–24 percent of total carbon emissions from Agricultural activities.

Since the regulation of emissions mentioned in the previous paragraph did not fully meet the expectations, the satellite monitor technologies are one step ahead.

Remote sensing satellite data have become a vital tool for monitoring carbon emissions. Due to unique benefits, such as accessibility, high resolution, and the ability to provide global coverage of the Earth’s surface, satellite data are playing a significant role in carbon monitoring.

After the launch of the first dedicated satellites, carbon monitoring has become a cornerstone of carbon cycle research following the Paris Agreement.

Satellite data is an essential part of SoilMate, and its potential has been confirmed a time ago. Being a part of the Agricultural sector means to prevent it from every danger. We are ready to find a long-term solution for the issue, so do not hesitate to ask for help.

AI-powered automation tool for collecting analytics data from agricultural fields all around the world!

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