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Is P trading coming to your town?

September 15, 2011

Development of biogeochemical markets is not, it seems, confined to carbon.  Various movements seem to be afoot to try to implement P trading markets to help in managing P discharges and eutrophication issues.  Here’s a example:  LINK  And here:  LINK.

The basic idea is that a municipality (or other entity) that exceeds federal guidelines for nutrient release, for example from its wastewater treatment plant, could sell emission rights for that “extra P” according to market prices.  The transactions would be handled via private brokerages.  It would seem very cool to connect such efforts to P fertilizer markets, so that the incentives come not only from regulatory measures to avoid pollution but also from profits generated from re-sale of the P (and N).

There are efforts to evaluate and implement such markets (also for use with nitrogen) in 13 US states and also some localities in Australia.  Do any readers know of others?

A full report on these is available via the World Resources Institute.  LINK.

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