How Soil Can Save Our Planet

Restoring and protecting the world's soil could absorb more than five billion tonnes of CO2 each year, which is almost the amount the US emits on a yearly basis.

"Most of the ongoing destruction of these ecosystems is about expanding the footprint of agriculture, so slowing or halting that expansion is an important strategy," said Deborah Bossio, principal study author and lead soil scientist for The Nature Conservancy.

She also said that soil restoration would have significant co-benefits for humanity, including improved , food production and crop resilience.

"There are few trade-offs where we build soil carbon and continue to produce food," she told AFP.

All of us in our world need to work harder to retain the land's ability to absorb and store planet-warming CO2. Just the first meter of soil in our world contains as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere, locking up the CO2 locked up in trees as they decompose and return to the earth. We can lock up and store a quarter of the planet's CO2 in our soil, just by not disturbing it or by using products such as biochar to lock up the CO2, so that it is not released.
The total potential for land-based sequestration is 23.8 billions of tons of CO2, so our soil is able to absorb 5.5 billion tons of CO2 on a yearly basis.

We could accomplish 40% of this, but just leaving the soil alone, and not messing with it. Agriculture is a significant contributor to the greenhouse gases in our planet, and emits up to one third of all greenhouse gas emissions and a lot  of food is wasted as well in the process.

By providing incentives to farmers and land shareholders to keep CO2 in the soil, we can make this a win win for everybody.




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