From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


August 30, 2005

No. 45



* Australian Producer Visits K-State To Discuss Greenhouse Gas Emissions



* Methane Impact May Be Greater Than Thought



* Nine Northeastern States Vow To Cut Greenhouse Gases



* Carbon Trading Takes Off







Australian Producer Visits K-State

To Discuss Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Dr. David Cattanach visited K-State’s Department of Agronomy in mid-August to discuss greenhouse gas emissions and agriculture. Cattanach is from Darlington Point, New South Wales, Australia. 


One of his main contentions is that nitrous oxide emissions are the greatest greenhouse gas concern in irrigated agriculture, more so that carbon dioxide emissions. Nitrous oxide has a greater Global Warming Potential value than carbon dioxide, meaning is a more potent greenhouse gas on a “pound-for-pound” basis.


Cattanach has irrigated property in southern New South Wales that produces corn, wheat, and fava beans. He is the first Australian to attempt auditing greenhouse gas emissions on his property.


In the process of conducting this greenhouse gas audit, he discovered that nitrous oxide, primarily from nitrogen fertilizer applications, was the biggest concern on his operation. He believes that more research needs to be focused on ways to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by improving nitrogen fertilizer timing and placement methods in intensive, irrigated farming operations.


Cattanach is touring the United States and several other countries on a fellowship through the Australian Nuffield Farming Scholars Association to study greenhouse gas emissions on agriculture worldwide.

-- Steve Watson






Methane Impact May Be

Greater Than Thought


The impacts of the greenhouse gas methane on climate warming may be double the standard amount attributed to the gas by most scientists today, according to a July 19 article from the Environmental News Service.


Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is said by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for 16 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities. New calculations by a NASA scientist show that methane emissions may account for a much greater percentage -- up to a third of all climate warming between the 1750s and today.


Dr. Drew Shindell, a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, believes we need to look at greenhouse gases when they are emitted at Earth's surface, instead of looking at the greenhouse gases after they have been mixed into the atmosphere.


This idea contrasts with the way greenhouse gases were measured for the major, standard investigations into the state of global warming published in a series of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment, involving the work of thousands of climate scientists.


The IPCC reports rely on measurements of greenhouse gases as they exist in the atmosphere, after they may have mixed with other gases. The IPCC states that methane increases in the atmosphere account for only about one sixth of the total effect of well-mixed greenhouse gases on warming.


But Shindell points out that the IPCC findings do not reflect the quantities of gases that were actually emitted.


“The gas molecules undergo chemical changes and once they do, looking at them after they've mixed and changed in the atmosphere doesn't give an accurate picture of their effect,” Shindell said.


Natural sources of methane include wetlands, gas hydrates in the ocean floor, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, and non-wetland soils. Human-related sources of methane include combustion of fossil fuels, coal mining, landfills, cattle, and rice paddies.


Fourteen countries are already working together to recover methane and use it as a clean energy sources. The Methane to Markets Partnership, launched in Washington, DC on November 16, 2004, includes the United States, the UK, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, Australia and Nigeria, among others.


To find out more, visit Dr. Shindell's web page at:






Nine Northeastern States Vow To

Cut Greenhouse Gases


Officials in nine Northeastern states have reached a preliminary agreement to cap and then cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 10 percent by 2020.


If the agreement is made final, it would be the first of its kind in the United States. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont came together in 2003 to form a coalition, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to explore a market-driven cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions in the absence of mandatory emissions reductions at the national level.


Phil Cherry, policy director at Delaware's Department of Natural Resources, said the proposal, as it is currently written, caps emissions of carbon dioxide at 150 million tons a year starting in 2009. Under the proposed guidelines, emission reductions would be required starting in 2015, which would increase to a 10 percent cut in 2020.


Once a final agreement is reached, legislatures or regulators in the nine states will have to approve it.


About 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions come from fossil fuel power plants.



-- Adapted from article in Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2005






Carbon trading takes off


Emissions trading has had many doubters, especially those who say Europe on its own, without America, would struggle to establish a market mechanism to help firms become more environmentally friendly. But since January, trading volumes have grown, carbon prices have soared and the City of London has moved into pole position to become the hub of this new market.


In January the average daily carbon volume traded in Europe was about 300,000 tonnes but, give or take intermittent spikes, the daily average had trebled to about 1 million tonnes by June. The value of the market has grown even more sharply because the price of an allowance for a tonne of carbon dioxide emitted has shot up from E6 to E20 ($32), with a peak in early June of E29. On those days in July when 2 million tonnes were traded, the value of those transactions approached pound.


The market is the result of the Kyoto agreement on climate change in 1997. This committed countries to reducing carbon dioxide emissions to below 1990 levels. The European Union responded with a scheme that would give companies a strong incentive to do their bit.


If a firm improves its energy efficiency and cuts emissions below its allocation, it can sell its surplus allowance on the market for a tidy sum. If its emissions exceed its allowance, it has to go into the market and buy allowances or face fines of E40 for every excess tonne of carbon dioxide it emits.


The carbon price has risen in the past few months. This is because power stations in Britain and on the Continent, faced with soaring oil and gas prices, have had to wade into the market. They were forced to buy allowances because the alternative fuel -- coal -- produces twice as much carbon dioxide as gas per megawatt hour of electricity.


Details of Kyoto’s phase two are not due to be released until next June, after which some very rapid investment decisions may have to be made by generators.

Could the Bush administration's hostility to Kyoto stifle Europe's carbon trading market? On July 28, the U.S., Australia, China, Japan, India, and South Korea signed an Asia Pacific Partnership to promote the spread of technologies to counter climate change.


Andreas Arvanitakis, at the analysis firm Point Carbon, says there is a small risk that this rival approach might “undermine at board level the concept of cap and trade emissions trading schemes.”


Many US companies hold a different view from their Government. General Electric says: “We like the European emissions trading scheme as a way forward.”


-- The Australian, August 17, 2005


For more details, see:







UPCOMING CONFERENCES (all dates are 2005 unless otherwise noted)


September 26-30

7th International CO2 Conference

Broomfield, CO

For more information:


November 13-17

Greenhouse 2005: Action on Climate Control

Melbourne, Australia

For more information: 

Contact: Paul Holper






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