Making Connections that Create Environmental Balance
Our planet is a world of give and take to find environmental balance. If you cut down a tree, plant two new ones. If your production process emits greenhouse gases, consider voluntarily reducing them or investing in carbon offset projects. If you travel for business, consider purchasing carbon offsets that make your carbon footprint neutral. At ClimeCo, we love helping companies, manufacturers, industry sectors and even rock bands come together to support each other to find that environmental balance. Currently, we are working to connect an industry we have supported since day one and a state that started it all with Cap and Trade.
Supporting a Big Industry
Did you know that agriculture is California’s number one industry, which brings billions of dollars into the state? From grapes grown in Napa Valley to almonds in Sacramento Valley, California farmers feed 13% of the US population. California has almost 80,000 farms that produce more than 400 commodities. They are the leading state in cash farm receipts and a quarter of what they produce is exported around the world. (Statistics from www.cdfa.ca.gov.)
In order to maintain this level of agricultural production, fertilizer is necessary to replenish the nutrients that are lost with each harvest. California farms use more than a million tons of fertilizer per year to feed their crops to support an abundant harvest. Fertilizers used in agriculture include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. There are fifteen states in the U.S. that contain nitrogen fertilizer production facilities, yet there are none presently in California, so the state must import fertilizer in order to support its major agricultural sector. All nitrogen fertilizers start from the processing of natural gas and other carbon-based fuels. The natural gas is transformed into ammonia and then into other nitrogen-based fertilizer products. That correlates to over two million metric tonnes per year (tpy) of CO2e emissions that are generated by the manufacturing and transportation of fertilizer to California, which the state has a responsibility to mitigate. This can easily be accomplished by supporting fertilizer-based N2O reduction projects located here in the U.S.
Greening Up Fertilizer
Nitrous oxide, which is 298 times more potent than carbon dioxide from a global warming potential, is formed from the processing of Nitric Acid, which is the main feedstock for ammonium nitrate, a critical nitrogen-based fertilizer. To address this, over 10 years ago, the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) adopted the Nitric Acid Protocol, the only fertilizer manufacturing GHG abatement protocol in use in the United States, with significant input from ClimeCo, who served on the Working Group. We wanted to make a difference and a positive impact on the fertilizer sector by creating scalable greenhouse gas abatement projects. There are many fertilizer producers who trusted ClimeCo when we had no real track record, and because of our passion and drive, we were able to partner with them to generate great success. These partnerships still exist and have only expanded over time.
Connecting the Dots
Through the purchase of carbon offsets from fertilizer manufacturing, your company can help green the agricultural supply chain in California. To date, ClimeCo has developed 100% of North American-based voluntary nitric acid carbon offset projects, representing approximately 15 million tonnes of CO2e abated from this sector, with additional projects currently being installed.
We encourage you to communicate this to your stakeholders or the agencies overseeing your CEQA case file. ClimeCo is happy to help supply information to assist you with your efforts. There are insufficient California-based voluntary offsets to meet the current California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) demand and IT IS stalling economic growth in CA. These projects should be considered equivalent to in-state reductions for all purposes, including those under CEQA.
About the Authors
William “Bill” Flederbach cofounded ClimeCo in 2009 and has grown the business rapidly over the last 10 years. Before starting ClimeCo, Bill managed air quality at O’Brien and Gere (OBG), worked and managed the international carbon markets at MGM International and AgCert. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and Smeal College.
Nancy Fuchs Marshall has worked in the environmental engineering market for over 14 years and in the marketing field for 23 years. Prior to joining ClimeCo, she fostered air, solid waste, wastewater and remediation projects for RMT (now TRC) and Sage Environmental (now ATC) and helped them increase their marketing and business development in the Southeast. Nancy is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame of Maryland.