Agriculture and land use together are responsible for 25% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Land cover change, such as deforestation, adds another 12-17%. Unlike GHG mitigation strategies in many other sectors, the agricultural sector has the technical potential to become a net carbon (C) sink. This has been a hotly discussed topic over the past few months.
“Carbon farming” is the idea that by instituting agricultural practices such as zero tillage, cover crops, composting, and reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers, we could sequester atmospheric CO2 and store it as long term soil organic carbon (SOC) where it will increase soil fertility year after year. Soils contain the most C of any terrestrial system– 2,400 petagrams (2.4 X 1015 kilograms) –three times the amount in the atmosphere, and 240 times current annual fossil fuel emissions1. Thus, increasing the amount of C stored in the soil by only a few percentage points would be huge.
Why isn’t carbon farming being implemented on a large scale already?
Farming is already a risky undertak….