Emission control’s neglected area
The impact of global warming on agriculture is complicated. Although an increase in global temperatures of up to 2.5 degrees Celsius could help increase total agricultural production by improving growing conditions in some parts of the world, many of what are today the world’s poorest countries would experience a worsening of growing conditions and food security.
With land-use activities contributing up to one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, the potential for emission reduction and carbon credit generating projects from agriculture is significant. Development of many potential projects, however, is being held back by technical problems and by their exclusion from the European Environmental Trading Scheme and the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, leaving only limited demand from the much smaller voluntary market.
Out of a total of 974 projects currently registered by UNFCCC, 339 registered projects – over a third of the total – are either undertaken in agriculture and forestry sectors directly or focus on a renewable energy process in agro-industry. These 339 projects, mainly methane capture from animal waste, are expected to generate annually 16,240,000 CERs, or slightly more than 8% of the 197,113,607 CERs generated annually by all CDM projects until 2012.
Methane capture from animal waste projects, which involves collecting manure and putting it into a biodigestor to release methane gas that is then either filtered and burnt or used to generate electricity, have, however, not performed as well as project developers had hoped.