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Alblasserwaard farmers submit plan to reduce CO2 emissions and subsidence

21 september 2021

Following about two years of experimentation at two pilot sites in the Alblasserwaard, the farmers involved are now taking the next step towards reducing subsidence and CO2 emissions. Together with the Nature and Environment Federation of South Holland (Natuur en Milieufederatie Zuid-Holland), they are submitting their plan to the National Carbon Market Foundation (Stichting Nationale Koolstofmarkt) to sell their reduced CO2 emissions through carbon credits to companies that want to offset their emissions. A Currency for Peat (Valuta voor Veen) project was set up for this purpose, using the pump-driven water infiltration method.  

Farmers are working together within the Green Circle Cheese and Soil Subsidence to find solutions that reduce subsidence, and at the same time looking for new earning models for future agriculture. This is urgently needed, as peatlands cause about 2.8% of the CO2 emissions in the Netherlands each year due to subsidence. These emissions can be reduced by preventing the peat from drying out too much. Following the completion of the experiments, pump-driven water infiltration is set to start in the Alblasserwaard after approval of the project plan. This involves using a pumping system to keep the groundwater at an agreed level, and is especially important in the drier summer months when groundwater levels can sink significantly.

Farmers who reduce their CO2 emissions by using this system can receive compensation through the sale of carbon certificates to companies and organisations that want to offset their CO2 emissions. This method is called Currency for Peat and was developed by the Nature and Environment Federations. There are already several projects underway at the moment that combine Currency for Peat with the method for raising the drainage ditch water level. The pump-driven water infiltration method was approved by the National Carbon Market Foundation in February. The farmers in the Alblasserwaard would be the first farmers in the Netherlands to be allowed to apply Currency for Peat by means of this method.

 

More projects

Farmers in the area have been working for some time with governments, researchers and companies on solutions aimed at reducing soil subsidence and restoring biodiversity through various innovations and pilots. Meanwhile, preparations are also well underway for scaling up to a new 100ha Currency for Peat project. Alex Ouwehand, director of the Nature and Environment Federation of South Holland, is closely involved: ‘Thanks to the collaboration between farmers, governments, bank, science and nature organisations, we are experiencing greater success in having sustainable farming go hand in hand with the enhancement of nature. Following the first two projects to be carried out within the Green Circle Cheese and Soil Subsidence, we want to expand Currency for Peat quickly across all of the peatland areas in South Holland.’