Canada Grassland Project Protocol opens opportunities for land conservation, emissions reduction and financial incentives to address climate change
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors adopted the Canada Grassland Project Protocol (CGPP) Version 1.0, establishing a foundation for growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction opportunities in Canada and creating new financial incentives for the conservation of grassland. The offset protocol provides a standardized approach for quantifying, monitoring and verifying the GHG reductions from the avoided conversion of grassland to cropland in Canada. The protocol adaptation process initially began under contract with the Province of Ontario and its completion was made possible by support from the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association and Viresco Solutions.
“This is a significant development for advancing offsets in Canada and expanding participation across the continent. This protocol wouldn’t have been developed and adopted today if it hadn’t been for the steadfast support of and interest from Canadian groups that saw the value and importance in this opportunity. We were both proud and appreciative to work in collaboration with these leaders, including the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors.
The CGPP was modeled off the US Grassland Project Protocol V2.0 and adapted to conditions in Canada. Eligible lands are private and tribal lands that demonstrate clear ownership and at least 10 years of continuous grassland cover. Projects may receive credits for up to 30 years.
Development of the protocol involved extensive research, incorporation of existing Canadian rating systems and workgroup feedback to produce a protocol that lowers barriers for participation for land owners while maintaining the standards for rigor and integrity that are required for all Reserve protocols. To assist with making Canadian grassland projects more accessible, the CGPP allows project aggregation through “cooperatives” to reduce transaction costs while meeting the ownership and reporting needs of the Reserve’s voluntary program. Eligibility and quantification were also developed to be as streamlined as possible, relying on standardized tests and emission factors.
“This is an exciting first step in Canada for recognizing the significant contribution that Canadian grasslands are making to climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration,” said Cedric MacLeod, Executive Director of the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association. “I’m proud of the leadership role that the CFGA has had and the opportunity to assume this role. However, this is only a first step towards helping to conserve Canadian grasslands and monetizing the carbon stored in the soils below them. This is also an opportunity to communicate with Canadians about why grassland conservation is so crucial to achieving many of the ecological and environmental conservation goals shared by many Canadians. We’ve got big plans going forward. This is just a first step.”