Columns and Commentary

Qwick Takes: Carbon markets and carbon farming

November 1, 2021

Posted by Irina Slav

This week, Talking Biz News Deputy Editor Erica Thompson reached out to Qwoted’s community of experts to inquire about carbon markets. While the debate on climate change rages on, how could carbon farming revolutionize the global food supply?

Check out some of the top commentary:

Mark Thompson, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer at Nutrien

As one of society’s first and most critical industries, agriculture has continually responded to the changing needs of our world. Today, we’re facing the global imperatives of reducing emissions, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, and eliminating food insecurity. A systems-based approach is required to address these challenges and ensure we aren’t making tradeoffs the world can’t afford.

Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., CEO at Marin Agricultural Land Trust

Yes, carbon farming can play a role in the transformation to more climate-beneficial practices. But we need to take a holistic approach and a systems-level view to becoming carbon-neutral or -negative.

Many regenerative practices are rooted in Indigenous land stewardship wisdom. We need to lift and center this knowledge as we forge a path towards climate-beneficial food systems.

Not every farm can afford to make investments in carbon farming and other climate-beneficial practices. Those of us with the privilege to choose what we eat have a responsibility to understand where and how our food is produced, and to support local farmers who are working toward becoming carbon-neutral or -negative.

Bill Goldie, Sales Director – Redshaw Advisors at Plannet Zero

It has become clear that to become Net Zero a business must invest in projects that remove CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than projects that ‘avoid’ an emission from taking place, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and forest protection.

Regenerative agriculture could create significant volumes for the growing demand for carbon removal projects, in much the same way renewables created huge volumes of carbon avoidance credits in earlier stages of the voluntary carbon market.

This sector has to deliver on pushing carbon underground and reducing farming practices that increase greenhouse gas emissions. Too many global players are entering this space and the demand for these types of credits is going to scale significantly.

Jan Gould, CEO and Co-Founder at Responsive Drip Irrigation

Since 2016, variants of carbon farming have reached hundreds of millions of hectares globally. Carbon farming is inclusive of a variety of agricultural methods that are focused on sequestering atmospheric carbon into the soil and in crop roots, wood and leaves. By adopting the right farming practices, like reducing tillage, planting cover crops, and using organic matter amendments, the amount of carbon stored in the soil can be increased.

In addition to carbon sequestering, carbon farming can improve soil water retention capacity and reduce fertilizer use and its accompanying emissions of greenhouse gas, which all have a positive impact for climate change. Soil carbon performs double duty, not only by sequestering atmospheric carbon, but as a resource to ensure food security. Carbon farming increases the soil’s carbon content, which increases soil organic matter that can aid plant growth and result in increased agricultural production and yields. Carbon farming is regenerating the soil to increase crop production, which can have a dramatic effect on global food production now and for the future, ensuring sustainability.

The massive potential of the soil’s ability to store carbon, plays a pivotal role in not only meeting the planet’s growing need for food production, but also reversing the negative effects of farming on climate change. If we just look beneath our feet, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.”

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