Scott Jackman of Deveron provides a simplified overview of the agriculture carbon market.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com, Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Carbon is good and, sigh, carbon is bad.
For one thing, human beings have about 12 percent of our atoms made up of carbon. Carbon under high temperature and pressure turns into diamonds.
Carbon is also, by far, the main component of coal, a principal form of heat? We even use the isotope carbon-14 to help determine the age of older items like fossils.
As part of chemical carbon dioxide (CO2), we recognize it as a greenhouse gas (GHG). As a greenhouse gas, it helps trap heat close to Earth and holds the energy the planet receives from the Sun (Sol) so it doesn’t escape back out into space. In fact, if it wasn’t for CO2 all of Earth’s oceans would be one solid frozen plane of ice.
Carbon dioxide is a natural result of life, and a vital part of the growth cycle of plants.
So why is it so bad? Carbon by itself isn’t bad, and, neither is CO2, but like anything, too much of a good thing is bad, in this case excessive production turns it into a poisonous gas. Along with causing difficulty of breathing and central nervous system damage in breathing creatures, it also has a negative impact on the atmosphere.
Remember that part about wanting heat trapped to help warm the planet? Too much CO2 in our planet’s atmosphere raises Earth’s temperature—and if we are unable to reduce our CO2 output, our planet and those that live on it will begin to face an, well, difficult future to put it mildly.
Speaking at the 2021 Farms.com-sponsored virtual Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase held November 16-18, Scott Jackman, the Vice President of Sales with the Toronto-based Deveron provided a stripped-down overview of how farmers can take advantage of the carbon programs available to help save the planet and make a few bucks on the side doing it.
Deveron is an agriculture tech company that helps customers use data to drive production decisions to increase yields, reduce costs and improve farm outcomes.
Jackman noted that the company utilizes a digital process of collected data from farms across North America that help it recommend to farmers a best-use scenario. Its team of agronomists and data scientists build products that recommend ways to better manage fertilizer, seed, fungicide, and more, using a North American network of technicians that go and collect farm data from soil sampling to drone deployment to build a best-in-class layer of data.
And, if carbon and CO2 seem like complex topics, Jackman correctly surmised that so to are the carbon “sequestering” programs available.
He explained that an ag carbon program allows companies that are trying to offset its own GHG emissions and consumption—lots of fuel used by delivery companyies like Amazon, or electricity use by Google—to purchase excessive carbon savings made by others—in our case, the agricultural industry.
He opined that it doesn’t even matter if one believes that these carbon exchange programs will work or not, because half of the Fortune 500 companies out there have already pledged some form of CO2 gas reduction program goal over the next 10 to 20 years.
A GHG reduction plan will help companies 1) cover direct emissions from owned or controlled sources; 20 cover indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company; 3) include all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
A farm’s participation in one of these GHG reduction plans will help support another company’s plan to reduce its emissions—even if that company isn’t performing any reductions on its own. Yes, it’s up to the farmer to come to the rescue… again.
Of the GHG gas emissions we are concerned about, CO2 is about 80 percent, methane at 10 percent, Nitrous oxide at seven percent, with the remain three percent comprising other fluorinated gases. While each GHG is culpable, Jackman said that even though CO2 is the most plentiful, it is the least damaging as a heat-retaining property. He pointed to the discontinued use of freon (a fluorinated gas) that had a negative value of 1,000 relative to CO2’s value of one.
All of the GHG emission plans work to reduce the impact of all of the impactful gas emissions.
To learn how the carbon exchanges and GHG reduction plans work, watch the video below: