Canada to offer incentives to cattle farms to reduce methane emissions

Cattle graze on a pasture affected by the recent drought on a farm near Fairy Hill, Saskatchewan

(Reuters) - Canada on Sunday introduced new economic incentives for beef cattle farms in order to reduce methane emissions from cows, according to a statement from the Canadian government.

The new draft protocol, Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions from Beef Cattle (REME protocol), will incentivize farmers to implement changes that would cut enteric methane emissions from their beef cattle operations with an opportunity to generate offset credits that they can sell.

Methane generated during the digestive process of cows and is released into the air when cows burp, is known as an enteric methane emission.

Each credit represents one tonne of emission reductions and the REME protocol is expected to encourage cattle farms to reduce emissions by improving animal diets, management, and other strategies that support more efficient animal growth.

The implementation of project activities will reduce the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted per unit mass of beef produced, by improving animal performance or directly reducing enteric methane emissions.

This may also lead to a decrease in methane and nitrous oxide emissions from manure.

Some farmers in Canada are breeding climate-friendly cows with a specific environmental goal: burping less methane.

Canada on Thursday unveiled a plan aimed at pushing oil and gas companies to cut emissions up to 38% from 2019 levels by 2030, by introducing a cap-and-trade system that drew immediate opposition from industry groups and some fossil fuel-producing provinces.

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft)