[PCA] Fwd: USDA and Partners Complete First-of-Its-Kind Sale of Carbon Credits from Working Ranch Grasslands

De Angelis, Patricia patricia_deangelis at fws.gov
Mon Nov 17 10:56:11 CST 2014

FYI...---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: USDA Office of Communications <usda at public.govdelivery.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM
Subject: USDA and Partners Complete First-of-Its-Kind Sale of Carbon
Credits from Working Ranch Grasslands

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    Release No. 0253.14  Contact:  Office of Communications
(202)720-4623     USDA
and Partners Complete First-of-Its-Kind Sale of Carbon Credits from Working
Ranch Grasslands

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today said a
U.S. Department of Agriculture grant has helped initiate a partnership that
is improving the environment, creating a market for carbon credits
generated on working grasslands. Chevrolet, a division of General Motors,
recently purchased almost 40,000 carbon dioxide reduction tons generated on
working ranch grasslands in the Prairie Pothole region of North Dakota.

"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."

Robert Bonnie, USDA's under secretary for Natural Resources and
Environment, announced the purchase and USDA's involvement in the project
at an event today at USDA headquarters. He was joined by Senate Agriculture
Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Greg Martin, executive
director for global public policy, General Motors; Sean Penrith, executive
director of The Climate Trust and Paul Schmidt, chief conservation officer
of Ducks Unlimited.

Chevrolet's first purchase of third-party verified carbon credits generated
on working ranch grasslands was undertaken voluntarily as part of its
commitment to reduce eight million tons of carbon dioxide from being
emitted. This is comparable to the annual carbon reduction benefit of a
mature forest the size of Yellowstone National Park.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $161,000
through a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to Ducks Unlimited in 2011 to
develop the necessary methodology
to quantify the carbon stored in the soil by avoiding grassland
conversions, resulting in the generation of carbon credits.

This is how the credit system works:

   - Landowners voluntarily place lands under a perpetual easement but
   retain rights to work the land, such as raising livestock and growing hay.
   - The carbon storage benefits of this avoided conversion of grasslands
   are quantified, verified, and formally registered resulting in carbon
   - The carbon credits are made available to entities interested in
   purchasing carbon offsets.

The landowners receive compensation for the carbon credits generated on
their lands. "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," said

Besides the landowners, USDA, and Ducks Unlimited, other key partners that
helped make this project a success include The Climate Trust, American
Carbon Registry, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and
Terra Global Capital.

USDA's CIGs support the development of new technologies and approaches to
agricultural conservation on private lands. This project was one of nine
greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon market projects funded by NRCS 2011.
More information on these innovative projects can be found on the webpage
of Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
a strategic partner of USDA.

Public-private partnerships to enhance U.S. carbon sinks such as forests,
grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas, are a key part of President Obama's
efforts to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change and
enhance the nation's climate resilience. In October, as called for in the
President's Climate Action Plan, the Administration announced a Climate and
Natural Resources Priority Agenda that represents a first of its kind,
comprehensive commitment across the Federal Government to support
resilience of our natural resources. It identifies a suite of actions
(including efforts like the USDA-Chevy agreement) the Federal Government
will take to enhance the resilience of America's natural resources to the
impacts of climate change and promote their ability to absorb carbon

This announcement is one of many USDA efforts to help 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. While assessments on
the future of agriculture and forestry show that climate change holds these
and other challenges in the years ahead, American producers are longtime
leaders in innovation, risk management and adaptation. USDA has supported
these efforts for more than a century. Now USDA is developing new tools to
help rural America create climate solutions and play a role in President
Obama's comprehensive effort to reduce carbon pollution. More information
on USDA's work is available at www.usda.gov/climatesolutions


If you have questions about USDA activities, please visit our Ask the Expert
page. This feature is designed to assist you in obtaining the information
you are seeking.

*USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of
discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil
Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC
20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800)
877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).*
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