Public-private partnerships are proving to be instrumental, effective and affordable means of addressing carbon emissions and climate change.
On Nov. 17, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Chevrolet purchased third-party-verified carbon credits from working ranch grasslands in North Dakota's Prairie Pothole region. The first transaction of its kind, the voluntary carbon credits were ushered into being by a public-private partnership and a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). Totaling $161,000, the grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, has set a voluntary goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 8 million tons, “comparable to the annual carbon reduction benefit of a mature forest the size of Yellowstone National Park,” the Agriculture Department highlighted.
"This announcement is the first-of-its-kind. The amount of carbon dioxide removed from our atmosphere by Chevrolet's purchase of carbon credits equals the amount that would be reduced by taking more than 5,000 cars off the road," Secretary Vilsack said. "This public-private partnership demonstrates how much can be achieved with a modest federal investment and a strong commitment to cut carbon pollution."
Ranchland owners are compensated for not converting their grasslands for agricultural purposes. As Secretary Vilsack elaborated:
"Ranchers benefit from new revenue streams, while thriving grasslands provide nesting habitat for wildlife, are more resilient to extreme weather, and help mitigate the impact of climate change."
Part and parcel of President Barack Obama's efforts to reduce emissions and combat climate change, USDA is helping “America's farmers, ranchers and forest owners adapt to new challenges caused by a changing climate – ranging from more intense weather events, to increased risk of wildfire, to a greater prevalence of invasive species.”
For more information on the CIG program and GHG mitigation initiatives in the agriculture sector, check out USDA strategic partner Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. More information on USDA's support of President Obama's efforts to reduce CO2 and GHG pollution is available on the department's Climate Solutions page.
Image credits: 1) Nature.org; 2) USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.