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Title: Offsetting methane emissions - An alternative to emission equivalence metrics
Contributor(s): Lauder, A R (author); Enting, I G (author); Carter, J O (author); Clisby, N (author); Cowie, Annette  (author); Henry, B K (author); Raupach, M R (author)
Publication Date: 2013
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2012.11.028Open Access Link
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Abstract: It is widely recognised that defining trade-offs between greenhouse gas emissions using 'emission equivalence' based on global warming potentials (GWPs) referenced to carbon dioxide produces anomalous results when applied to methane. The short atmospheric lifetime of methane, compared to the timescales of CO₂ uptake, leads to the greenhouse warming depending strongly on the temporal pattern of emission substitution. We argue that a more appropriate way to consider the relationship between the warming effects of methane and carbon dioxide is to define a 'mixed metric' that compares ongoing methane emissions (or reductions) to one-off emissions (or reductions) of carbon dioxide. Quantifying this approach, we propose that a one-off sequestration of 1 t of carbon would offset an ongoing methane emission in the range 0.90-1.05 kg CH₄ per year. We present an example of how our approach would apply to rangeland cattle production, and consider the broader context of mitigation of climate change, noting the reverse trade-off would raise significant challenges in managing the risk of non-compliance. Our analysis is consistent with other approaches to addressing the criticisms of GWP-based emission equivalence, but provides a simpler and more robust approach while still achieving close equivalence of climate mitigation outcomes ranging over decadal to multi-century timescales.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, v.12, p. 419-429
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1750-5836
Field of Research (FOR): 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
070105 Agricultural Systems Analysis and Modelling
070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 839802 Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Production
960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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