Although definitely a popular idea, regenerative farming has to be done right—so that it does become a climate solution that feeds a growing world.
Regenerative agriculture involves practices like cover cropping and conservation tillage that promote soil health and water retention, and sequester and lessen carbon.
The whole goal is to deal with and limit climate impact at scale. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that soil sequestration can eliminate more than 250 million metric tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to 5% of United States emissions.
Everyone from conservationists to farmers have promoted cover cropping and reduced tillage for years.
When done at scale, with the help of new technology and innovation, they demonstrate agriculture’s role in leading the battle against climate change.
Offset markets get most of the attention. Many private, voluntary markets for soil carbon have originated recently, supported by companies motivated by carbon neutrality commitments to offset carbon emissions with credit purchases.
Offset markets can render agriculture a catalyst for a major climate solution; organisations behind private carbon markets build up capacity and the financial incentive to cut down on emissions.
“Farming carbon” will motivate demand for regenerative financial mechanisms, data analytics tools and innovative technology such as nitrogen-fixing biologicals — all imperatives to optimise the adaption and impact of regenerative work methods and inspire innovation and business.
It’s these advances, and not carbon credits, that will lessen agricultural emissions.
Offsets are a beginning, but not the whole solution. Whether created by forestry, renewable energy, transportation or agriculture, offsets must be bought by organisations year by year, and do not necessarily alleviate a buyer’s carbon footprint.
Each business sector must decarbonise its footprint directly or devise “insets” by lessening the emissions in its supply chain. Of course, not every business can afford to do so.
For organisations that buy and process farming products — from food companies to renewable fuel producers — soil carbon offsets can reduce emissions right away while funding strategies that reduce emissions on a permanent basis, beginning at the farm.
Thanks to a winning team of scientific innovations, big data, financing and farmer networking, investment in regenerative agriculture can reduce farming’s carbon footprint while lauding farmers for their stewardship.
Source: Tech Crunch.Com