Why the Food Lab?

Why the Food Lab?

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Agriculture and Carbon Markets: Making Carbon Count



C-AGG, T-AGG and M-AGG: A model for building collaborative actions and common understanding on agricultural GHG mitigation.  Working Paper No 3

Lydian Olander, Debbie Reed, Daniella Malin, Karen Haugen-Kozyra

Phase 1 Report

Agriculture Sector Greenhouse Gas Quantification Review
Agriculture Sector Greenhouse Gas Quantification Tool Description Appendix 

Phase 2 Report

Agriculture Sector Greenhouse Gas Quantification Protocol Benchmarking


June 10 and June 17 Workshops


Presentations from June 10 and June 17, 2010 Events Available HERE


September 23, 2010 Vitual Workshop:  Making Carbon Count Webinar

Webinar available HERE



October 4-5, 2010 Agriculture and Carbon Markets

C-AGG/ T-AGG/ M-AGG joint meeting.  Chicago, Illinois, USA.  More information HERE


N2O Protocol Development Webinar and Panel


With three N20 reduction protocols coming through the protocol approval process currently we hosted a webinar and a live panel featuring, comparing and contrasting these three approaches to the development of N2O reduction protocols:


  • Electric Power Research Institute-Michigan State University - N20 Reduction Methodology and Annexes - submitted/planned to be submitted to the Voluntary Carbon Standard process.
  • Winrock International - Methodology for Emission Reductions through Changes in Fertilizer Management - under review in the American Carbon Registry's process.
  • Canadian Fertilizer Institute-The Fertilizer Institute - Nitrous Oxide Emissions Reduction Protocol - final stages of approval in the regulatory-based Alberta Offset System.


 The three-hour webinar for protocol developers on September 8, 2010 helped prepare them for the N20 panel during the joint C/T/M-AGG October event in Chicago. One of the outputs of this exercise is a summary table showing a side-by-side comparison of these three protocols. HERE



Agriculture has the opportunity to play a major role in addressing the challenge of climate change.  Financial incentives for farmers to ‘produce’ emission reductions or to sequester carbon can help unleash this potential.  One market tool that policy makers have been using successfully in other sectors—carbon markets—are beginning to be applied to agriculture in some jurisdictions. Any such system of financial incentive however, must achieve the intended environmental outcomes and ‘work’ for both agricultural producers and potential investors.

The Market Mechanisms for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (M-AGG) is one of three initiatives, along with C-AGG and T-AGG (outlined below) funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The M-AGG project is building capacity for further activity in carbon market infrastructure development in both the short and long-terms.  In the short-term, this project provides greater context, links initiatives, and engages a broader stakeholder group.  Over the longer-term, it builds broader market capacity towards eventual rule-making processes under the USDA and/or US EPA (or regional initiatives).

The policy efforts underway raise key questions: What kinds of market tools will be needed in agriculture to bring carbon to market? What is the path to market for carbon emission reductions and sequestration? And how do we quantify the carbon being brought?


To help us find those answers, workshops were held on both coasts of the US building capacity among a broad range of agriculture sector, carbon market, research, policy, and investment stakeholders.

The workshops built common understanding and linkages among the stakeholder groups in support of development of the carbon market infrastructure required to engage the agriculture sector. In particular, the workshops included the presentation of a pair of reports, published by M-AGG, on the interface of agriculture and the carbon markets for stakeholder comment.  The first of these reports can be found here:  Agriculture Sector Greenhouse Gas Practices and Quantification Review


Linked Initiatives


The Market Mechanisms for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (M-AGG) is designed to bring particular focus to the carbon market infrastructure required for the agriculture sector to participate within emerging carbon policy and market frameworks.  M-AGG is focused on identifying the current tools for quantifying greenhouse gas emission reductions and sequestration across a broad range of agricultural sectors.  The M-AGG process will result in benchmarking a sub-set of these tools, namely quantification protocols, that fit a defined set of offset quality criteria common to most emerging carbon markets today.

The criteria include:

  1. Principles adopted under C-AGG and other carbon market initiatives
  2. Regulatory and programmatic guidance available from federal, regional and international climate change regimes and programs.
  3. Structure, scientific approach, transparency and scalability criteria.

In June M-AGG released a pair of reports on the availability of quantification tools across agricultural sectors and a benchmarking of available quantification protocols.  This will highlight opportunities for the on-going development of tools and protocols and support voluntary or pilot (pre-compliance) projects to establish the path-to-market for carbon emission reductions and sequestration from within the agricultural sector.

M-AGG Documents Available Online:

Workshops were held in UC Davis, California, and Washington DC in June, 2010, with a webinar held in September, 2010.  The presentations delivered at these workshops, and the videotaped content of the meetings are available at the Sustainable Food Lab URL listed above.

For more information, contact:
Daniella Malin with the Sustainable Food Lab
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Keith Driver with Blue Source Canada 
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or Karen Haugen-Kozyra with KHK Consulting
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The Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (C-AGG) seeks to mitigate climate change and benefit farmers by advancing the development and adoption of science-based policies, methodologies, protocols, and projects for GHG emissions reductions and carbon sequestration within the agricultural sector. C-AGG members are agricultural producers, scientists, GHG quantification experts, carbon investors, policy experts, and GHG project developers.

C-AGG’s report, “Carbon and Agriculture:  Getting Measurable Results”, released in April, 2010, represents contributions from participants in C-AGG, and was developed in consideration of the diversity of opinions within the Coalition. It is intended to serve as a catalyst for ongoing discussion, and will likely evolve over time as science and data and information improve and evolve.

For more information about C-AGG, contact:  Debbie Reed, C-AGG Executive Director, at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit the C-AGG website at:  http://www.c-agg.org/



The Technical working group on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (T-AGG) brings together technical expertise to assess and assemble the scientific and analytical foundation for developing high-quality agricultural protocols.  T-AGG hopes to expand the opportunities for agricultural practices that can mitigate climate change and benefit farmers.  T-AGG involves academic experts in agriculture and related fields from across the United States in dialogue with federal agencies, carbon registries, agricultural producers, project developers, and policy experts.

T-AGG is producing a series of reports on key GHG mitigation activities for U.S. agriculture during 2010: a survey and comparison of a wide range of agricultural practices that can provide a road map for future protocol and policy development;, and updates on scientific complexities and implications for management for two promising agricultural activities – soil carbon management and nitrous oxide emissions reduction on cropland.  

For information about T-AGG, advisers, experts, outlines, drafts and reports, please visit the T-AGG website at:
http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/institute/t-agg/, or contact Lydia Olander, T-AGG Project Director, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it