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International Launch of Canadian Climate Change Protocol

22 November 2010

NETHERLANDS – An innovative new approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farm fertiliser use has been approved by the Canadian province of Alberta for use in its offset system, an international meeting was told.

“The Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol, or NERP, has been accepted after three years of development and consultation with farmers, soil scientists and government officials,” said Clyde Graham, Vice President, Strategy and Alliances, of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI). He was speaking at a side-event organized by the Farming First coalition at the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in The Hague entitled “Best Practices in Agricultural Value Chains: Improving productivity, reliability, and minimising risk to improve resilience to climate change”.

The Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol (NERP) is designed to reduce on-farm emissions of nitrous oxide in a quantifiable, credible and verifiable way that would allow farmers to earn carbon credits.

NERP is a good example of public and private sectors working together to assist farmers to implement Best (Beneficial) Management Practices on-farm as well as reduce overall GHG emissions. Initiated by CFI, NERP is the result of a collaborative partnership that includes the Alberta government, Climate Change Central, ClimateCHECK Corporation and the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI).

NERP is based on applying fertilizer using Best Management Practices customized into a 4R nutrient stewardship plan. The 4R nutrient stewardship system is applying the Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®. By establishing three levels of nitrogen stewardship plans (basic, intermediate and advanced performance), NERP addresses the pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

Alberta is the first Canadian province to approve the use of NERP in its regulatory carbon marketplace. But the potential does not end there. NERP was developed in Canada but was designed to be flexible enough to be used anywhere in the world, customized with region-specific science, to reduce emissions and provide an opportunity for the agricultural community to become involved by earning offset credits.

“We will be promoting the NERP in our industry to encourage other countries to take on such innovative offset project as it proves that agricultural productivity and climate change can be addressed simultaneously”, said Morgane Danielou from the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

Also attending the conference were representatives from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), Canada's largest general farmers' organization, which has expressed support for NERP. “This initiative provides Alberta farmers with another opportunity to capitalize on their good management practices to produce carbon offset credits. We look forward to other provinces adopting the NERP in their future offset systems," said Don McCabe, Co-Chair of the CFA Environment and Science Committee.

Introducing a comprehensive strategy to minimise the accumulation of nitrate in agricultural soils is the right thing to do.

TheCropSite News Desk

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