“Charismatic Carbon” Credits:
Carbon Credits from the Agricultural Sector Could be Highly Valuable In
Charismatic carbon (C) credits from the agricultural sector
will be highly valued in U.S.
carbon markets. Soil C sequestration is recognized
as a key component of every major analysis to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases
(GHG) in the near term,. Soil C sequestration is a scientifically
recognized method to removing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to
help combat global climate change. Of all identified mitigation options
available to reduce GHG, soil C sequestration is the most readily deployable,
environmentally beneficial, and lowest-cost measure available. Soil C sequestration is a win-win solution
for agriculture and climate change policies.
Increasing soil C through soil C sequestration improves
agricultural soil quality, fertility and productivity; reduces soil erosion and
nutrient runoff; improves soil water retention and drought resistance; reduces
nutrient leaching, and improves surface and groundwater quality; and can help reduce
fuel use and inputs. Soil C
sequestration thus boosts agricultural productivity while reducing atmospheric
GHG concentrations. Because of the
multiple co-benefits of soil C, it is referred to as “charismatic carbon.” No other GHG reduction option offers
so many ancillary benefits to society and to agriculture as soil C.
Agricultural “charismatic carbon” is a particularly
important role for the U.S.
in the early years of emissions reductions policies. As a readily-available, low-cost means of
reducing US GHG emissions, soil C provides a bridge to the future, allowing the
economy time and “breathing room” as we transition to less-GHG intensive energy
production technologies. With the right
incentives and policies, U.S.
agriculture can offset up to 15-20 % of U.S. GHG emissions annually.
Over time, the C sequestering ability will slow as
saturation is reached. It is estimated
that the soil’s capacity to saturate will take 30-50 years. Thus this emissions reduction option is a
perfect fit for inexpensive, early reductions that can make U.S. policies
economical for the entire country, while rewarding agriculture for its
contributions to reducing U.S. emissions and combating global climate change.
soil C sinks has the potential to offset 15-20% of U.S.
emissions while at the same time providing income to producers and
improving soil quality and sustainability
- Soil C
sequestration technologies are immediately deployable and allow the
reduction in atmospheric GHG while other technologies are developed and