Everything Poops + Business Sees The Changing Climate = Crapitalism

Months ago we posted on a landfill methane capture project: controversial because "offsets" were being sold to cover the costs of capturing and burning methane emitted from buried solid waste. Some likened the practice to selling indulgences for spiritual gain. Then, months later, the Vatican decided to go for the green, causing that simile to lose currency. Now it seems, covering and capturing all manner of poop gas is headed toward the realm of big business. Raw material in excess. Cows do it. Pigs do it. Even billions of crowded miserable little chickens do it. We think capturing the methane wafting from their piles of excrement and selling the credits for this effort is soon to be a global love story for investors. The business potential is nicely embodied by AgCert International (AgCert™), a business that sells credits for those greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. "Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, AgCert was founded to generate emission reductions from livestock farms to reduce the adverse impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to global warming and climate change. AgCert is now the worldwide leader in agriculturally derived emission reductions, and we are applying our expertise to create industrial based emission reductions as well. The GHG emission reductions are pooled and sold to industrial emitters, governments, funds and energy traders."Anaerobic digestion, the biotic and major source of atmospheric methane releases, works on straw, wasted food, animal bedding, manure....all kinds of organic material...not just the collected byproducts of factory farming.

Now if we could just think of an incentive for capitalists to conserve old growth forests and protect biodiversity on this same scale. Oh wait...there are some. Offsetting, again, if deployed for conservation reserve. And, tax credits for donating money to the Nature Conservancy, for example.

If the covered lagoon method (pictured) proves to be globally valuable for business, the upshot is a large scale incentive to prevent lagoon flooding or leakage, and the resulting loss of raw material (the poop) needed profit from a waste that, if not carefully retained to extract economic value, offends neighbors, is a potential disease vector (for Avian flu for example) and poses an ecological hazard to downstream waters. (What are those huge lagoon covers made out of anyway? Could be a good supply chain aspect to invest in.)

US-EPA (other side of pond from Ireland) is offering a http://www.epa.gov/npdes/afo">Federal grants program to help animal waste handlers do a better job of managing waste, primarily through education and free consultation. Is there a potential synergy between "crapitalism" and the US-style, regulatory carrot/stick method for improving animal waste management? Or could this be a conflict looming?

Via:: RP at The Shaw Group, Inc.

Tags: Ireland