What is the Buckwheat Blossom Farm project about?
This project is the first of its kind. It combines the elimination of fossil-fuel emissions (using horses instead of tractors) with direct measurement of greenhouse gas emissions at the farm. The objective is to demonstrate that farms can attain neutral or net-negative status while providing high quality products for the community with climate beneficial management.
What is Direct Measurement and Why is it a Game-Changer?
Carbon offsets are not new but are increasingly popular as one way to manage climate change. However, carbon offsets, and particularly carbon farming offsets, are under fire as being unreliable. The problem with existing offsets is that they are largely estimated. This means that actual measurement of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere to the land is not part of the process. Direct measurement, in contrast, measures CO2 as it moves into and out of the project area. Direct measurement changes everything by accounting for carbon directly. If you buy a “metric ton of stored CO2” then it should be verified that a ton was delivered.
Why is CO2 Measurement Alone Not Enough to Fight Climate Change?
CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) but methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are more powerful warming agents relative to CO2 by 14 and 125 times, respectively. Agriculture in particular can be sources and sinks for CH4 and N2O according to farm practices including use of synthetic fertilizers ( a source of N2O) and the raising of livestock including cattle that are large emitters of CH4. In short, if we only measure CO2, we can’t know the true GHG budget for a farm. The BBF project will measure all three GHGs throughout the year.
Why Is a Farm that is Already Reducing Emissions Eligible to Create Offsets for Sale?
In our view, any project that, by direct measurement, reduces GHG emissions is viable to produce offsets. Unfortunately, since commercial carbon farming projects do not measure GHG emissions, it is assumed that farm practices underway are not “additional” to the mandate to reduce emissions. Direct measurement changes everything regarding the concept of additionality.