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Duke publishes guide explaining greenhouse gas ‘offsets’


March 11, 2008
By Duke University

The first ‘how to’ manual for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., through changes in land
use and farming practices, and turning those reductions into verifiable
credits for trading in carbon markets, has hit bookshelves.

The first ‘how to’ manual for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., through changes in land use and farming practices, and turning those reductions into verifiable credits for trading in carbon markets, has hit bookshelves.

Duke University Press published Harnessing Farms and Forests in the
Low-Carbon Economy: How to Create and Verify Greenhouse Gas Offsets in June. The book is a technical guide for farmers, foresters, traders and investors.

Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions developed the guide in collaboration with the nonprofit advocacy group, Environmental Defense, with input from scientists at Texas A&M, Colorado State, Rice, Princeton, Kansas State and Brown universities.

The guide explains how farmers and foresters can convert their land’s carbon dioxide storage capacity, and reduce emissions of potent greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, into revenue generating ‘offsets’ that can be bought and sold in future carbon markets. Lawmakers at the federal and state levels are paying increased attention to the role of such offsets as legislation to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is being developed.

The guide is divided into three sections. The first section provides an overview for legislators, foresters, farmers and people unfamiliar with offset markets but interested in learning about them. The second section provides a detailed but non-technical discussion of the offset process for project developers, investors and purchasers of offsets. The third section provides the technical information critical to the individuals responsible for quantifying, verifying or regulating offset projects.

Some land managers in agriculture and forestry are building demonstration projects that apply the recommendations in the guide. In New York, a group of small landowners and dairy operators is producing offsets by combining reforestation, no-till farming, methane capture from manure, buffer zones and cover crops.

www.env.duke.edu/institute/
ghgoffsetsguide


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