The carbon stock in the soil is two to three times that in the atmosphere, and the soil is essential for coping with climate change. Carbon is also important for soil fertility and agriculture. However, due to poor farming practices, industrialization and urbanization, one third of the world’s soil has been degraded, not only limiting agricultural production, but also releasing 13.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Improving soil carbon stocks has become an important agenda for addressing climate change.
In response to this question, experts from the Science and Technology Committee of the “4/4 Initiative” published a book entitled “Increase Soil Carbon Storage to Realize Paris Climate Commitment” on December 3, 2018 (Put More). Carbon in Soils to Meet Paris Climate Pledges, an article calling on countries to take action to increase soil carbon stocks in response to global climate change and food security issues:
- Prevent soil carbon loss by protecting peatlands, managing forests sustainably, limiting grazing, and applying green manure.
- Increase soil carbon storage by planting nitrogen-fixing plants, reducing fertilizer application, adding crop residues or manure.
- Scientific monitoring, tracking reports, assessment and verification of the impact of interventions.
- Using advanced instruments such as portable infrared spectrometers and satellite images, using self-designed automatic programs and algorithms to monitor soil carbon storage changes more quickly and accurately.
- Test the effectiveness of various measures in improving soil organic carbon storage by deploying pilot networks, spot checks, field surveys, remote sensing monitoring, and development of computer models.
- Through publicity and education, raise public awareness of the importance of soil organic carbon and encourage public participation in actions to improve soil organic carbon storage capacity.
- Coordinate land sustainable management policies and climate change political frameworks, and incorporate soil carbon targets into national emission reduction commitments to help countries achieve Paris climate commitments and prevent and reverse land degradation.
- Promote the implementation of relevant actions by integrating soil carbon into carbon tax or carbon emissions trading system, distributing soil health cards to farmers, and creating global investment funds to promote the improvement of soil carbon storage.
- The “Thousands of Thousand Initiatives” is an action plan launched in France at the COP21 Paris Climate Summit in 2015 to “enhance soil carbon content by 4% per year”, aiming to increase soil organic matter content and carbon through local agricultural practices. Sequestration to play a key role in agricultural soils in climate change and food security.