Sunday, October 04, 2009

Integrating Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Into Climate Policy

Much of the attention on sustainable land management practices that can help reverse global warming has focused on the CO2-absorbing potential of forests.

What about the role of sustainable agriculture practices that are known to sequester carbon in the soil?

According to this piece:

Fortunately, many of the measures that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon in the soil will also make agriculture more resilient to extreme weather patterns, such as the current drought. Cover cropping, composting, conservation tillage, organic fertilization and other best management practices will increase the amount of soil organic matter, reduce erosion, conserve water and enhance fertility. This, in turn, will help increase crop productivity and drought and pest resistance in the face of an increasingly dry and hot climate. According to a January 2009, ground-breaking study by University of California at Davis researchers, these practices, when combined, will generate significant greenhouse gas reduction benefits, primarily through carbon sequestration.

Unfortunately, none of these measures were adopted or promoted in California’s climate change strategy.

Read the rest of the article here...

As I've noted time and again, climate change solutions offer a multitude of opportunities for improving the efficiency with which we do things like produce and use energy and manage land. 

Followers of this blog will know that many of the sustainable agriculture practices that help to sequester CO2 also have multiple additional benefits, from conserving water, soil, and biodiversity to naturally increasing pest and drought resistance. If we're to achieve the goal of 350 ppm CO2 stated by top experts (and advanced by the good folks at, we simply cannot afford to not have key solutions like this smartly integrated into our climate policies.

Let's hope that California catches this glaring omission from its climate policy and begins to set the example for the rest of the world.

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