Methodology puts credits in rice growers’ reach

Grain Central July 10, 2023

Rice paddies in Vietnam. Photo: ACIAR

GLOBALLY, around 8 percent of global agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are produced by growing rice.

If rice production was a country, emissions associated with it would be larger than the total footprint of Canada, Saudi Arabia, or France and the UK combined.

The grain is also the world’s most important staple food-crop, helping to feed over four billion people.

Most of the emissions associated with rice production are methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

The Global Methane Pledge, launched at COP26 in November 2021 to catalyse action to reduce methane emissions, has set a commitment to reduce methane emissions by at least 30pc below 2020 levels by 2030.

Gold Standard was established in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund and other international non-government organisations to ensure projects that reduced carbon emissions featured the highest levels of environmental integrity and also contributed to sustainable development.

It is supported by organisations include Australian AID, Clean Cooking Alliance, Fairtrade, Goldman Sachs, and United Nations agencies.

“At Gold Standard our vision is climate security and sustainable development for all by not only delivering a quantifiable reduction in the emissions of a potent greenhouse gas, but also providing a source of income to farmers this new methodology will bring us closer to that goal,” Gold Standard chief executive officer Margaret Kim said.

Rethink on water

Methane is produced when organic matter decomposes in flooded rice fields without access to oxygen.

The new methodology aims to reduce methane emissions by:

  • changing the water regime during the cultivation period from continuously to intermittently flooded conditions and/or a shortened period of flooded conditions;
  • using the alternate wetting and drying method;
  • adopting aerobic rice cultivation methods; and,
  • switching from transplanted to direct-seeded rice (DSR).

As with all Gold Standard methodologies any reductions will be verified by an independent audit before any carbon credits are issued.

The new methodology will open a new source of income from the sale of carbon credits for around 140 million smallholders in Asia who produce most of the world’s rice.

These credits could be used towards corporate “beyond value-chain mitigation” targets, to take responsibility for ongoing emissions.

Scope for Scope 3

Rice is also a commodity purchased by corporations through their value chains.

Mitigation outcomes could therefore become reportable towards value chain targets, such as Scope 3.

For companies purchasing rice from producers applying the methodology, these outcomes can be incorporated into accounting and reporting, subject to alignment with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Further work, through Gold Standard’s AIM Platform will assess the potential for market-based allocation of outcomes in future.

The new methodology is fully IPCC aligned and includes improved monitoring guidelines. It is also applicable to a broader scope of project – large and small-scale or micro-scale projects or PoAs.

Put together, this means that it is more user friendly than the previous methodology.

This methodology is adapted from the small-scale CDM methodology AMS-III.AU – Methane emission reduction by adjusted water management practice in rice, cultivation – Version 4.0.

The CDM methodology is applicable for 30 days from the date of publication of the new methodology.

The methodology has been developed with inputs from the Eurecat Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya, and from the International Rice Research Institute as part of a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Australia through the Business Partnerships Platform.

Simply reducing the amount of rice we grow is not tenable in a world with a growing population.

We must develop and support sustainable production to protect local economies and reduce the risk of food scarcity.

Source: Gold Standard



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