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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Agricultural soil carbon sinks and the design of a domestic emissions trading scheme Ramirez-Ramirez, Gmelina


After the signing of the Kyoto Protocol and its several mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, countries around the globe have been developing appropriate schemes to deal with their excess greenhouse gas emissions. This thesis presents general design guidelines based on the objective of economic efficiency to develop a Domestic Carbon Emissions Trading scheme which also offers to emitters the option of buying offset credits generated from the temporal carbon sequestration services of agricultural soils. Quotas and emissions permits are similar economic instruments and therefore the experience of the Canadian Supply Management system provides lessons and a rich source of rules and procedures for an emissions trading scheme. Nevertheless, designing a system that manages offset credits generated from sequestering carbon in agricultural soils is not trivial. Through appropriate land management practices the soil can increase its carbon uptake thus reducing the net existence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, this reduction may not be permanent as carbon sinks (where carbon is stored in the soil) are prone to release the sequestered carbon easily. Given the temporal feature of agricultural soil carbon sinks, this thesis presents relevant design aspects of a Domestic Carbon Emissions Trading scheme which accommodates the unique features of agriculture. In particular this thesis explores the concept of rental contracts which are designed to purchase soil C sequestration services from farmers over a specified period of time to generate the offset credits.

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