Reducing Animal Agriculture Emissions: The Viability of a Farm Transition Carbon Offset Protocol

November 2022
ELR 10907
Manny Rutinel and Sebastian Quaade

Animal agriculture is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offset markets allow entities to reduce their overall climate impact by financing projects that decrease emissions elsewhere. This Article analyzes the viability of an offset protocol that credits farms for transitioning from raising livestock to growing crops, based on the difference in emissions between these operations. It finds that a livestock-to-plants farm transition project can satisfy all of the criteria for offset protocols, and provides a preliminary methodology to calculate the emission reductions associated with a farm transition. Carbon offset registries, legislative bodies, and administrative agencies may implement these findings to help address the environmental and social harms associated with our current food system.

Manny Rutinel is an Associate Attorney at Earthjustice and the CEO of Climate Refarm. Sebastian Quaade is a Research Fellow at Stanford Law School’s Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab.

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