Why isn’t carbon sequestration through agriculture regularly talked about as a way to address climate change? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Though there is scientific consensus regarding the potential for agricultural soils to sequester carbon, there have been three main barriers to scaling this potential effectively: the cost of measuring and monitoring soil carbon levels, the technologies available to replace chemicals and fertilizers, and the incentives for growers to begin making the transition to regenerative practices.
Soil sampling is time intensive and costly. On top of that, soil carbon models have traditionally been based more on theory than informed by actual studies and verifiable measurements. Only recently have new sampling techniques arrived that, combined with advances in data sciences and satellite analytics, offer an accurate and cost-effective approach to measuring soil carbon.
Second, without an alternative to fertilizers and chemicals, farmers had no choice but to apply synthetic inputs to their land. But today’s advances in microbiology can support resilient and robust crops without these inputs, and advancements in data science can support farmers in making more nuanced farm management decisions that lead to the same (or better) yields while decreasing (or eliminating) their reliance on chemicals and fertilizers.
Finally, there has never been a sufficient incentive to support growers in transitioning away from conventional agriculture to regenerative farming techniques. With The Terraton Initiative, we are providing growers with compelling financial incentives to implement new management practices.
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