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Methane emission producers able to sell reductions; avoid potential high levels through growing fodder trees, says consultant

Posted by gmarkets on 11 October, 2007

Agricultural consultant Alan Lauder, who had just released a methane discussion paper on his carbon grazing website, argued that growers who introduced more efficient grazing systems to reduce methane would also receive win-wins in the form of more production per hectare, an ability to withstand droughts for longer, and more dollars in the hip pocket, wrote James Nason in Queensland Country Life (4/10/2007, p. 7).

Producers able to sell reductions annually: Lauder also believed that as rules governing the measurement and therefore the tradeability of methane emissions were finalised, producers would be able to sell their own reductions in methane emissions to big business, as offsets. While the offset debate was currently focused on soil carbon, Lauder believed that selling methane reductions would offer greater value for producers in future because a methane emission reduction could he achieved and sold on an annual basis, as opposed to long-term periods such as 70-100 years with soil carbon.

Pasture management key to reducing methane emissions: Additionally, a methane emission reduction achieved in a 12-month period could not be reversed, while soil carbon levels could change from year to year. Given that methane levels were determined by efficiency of digestion, and at their highest in dry times, Lauder had said pasture management was the only practical response producers had to reducing methane. “When the debate matures, the focus will be on how much methane is produced per kilogram of production.” Producers growing fodder trees (perennial plants such as leucaena or old man saltbush, which provided an ongoing protein source enabling animals to maintain digestability) would be able to avoid potential methane explosions caused by lack of protein in times of drought.

Queensland Country Life, 4/10/2007, p. 7

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