The World Bank recently released some interesting research into carbon capture in soil. The report looked at exactly how much carbon is in soil, and the repercussions that happen as a result.
Cesar Izaurralde, a soil scientist at the U.S. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is quoted in a Reuters news piece as saying that farm management and carbon capture go hand-in-hand:
We know farm management has a very significant influence on how much carbon is in the soil … I think in the next two to three years the research community will have the tools ready.
Measuring how to count carbon, both in terms of how much is already there and what the capacity for storage is, is a challenge, as the Reuters article highlights:
Uncertain accounting is a critical obstacle in harnessing the potential of the agricultural sector and especially soils, which in theory could cut annual global greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 percent from present levels by 2030.
Currently, there are two World Bank-funded trial projects happening in Kenya which are looking to understand how to lock carbon into the soil. Johannes Woelcke, the World Bank’s team leader in Kenya, talked about the projected carbon savings from the trials.
The Kenya trials … will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 130,000 tonnes annually, involving 90,000 small-scale farmers.
Soil’s contribution to carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be a discussion point at the Copenhagen climate meeting in December. Reuters reported that the Copenhagen meeting may result in further incentives for farmers to apply low-carbon techniques on farms, possibly targeting the 2 billion poor living on small farms.