Thursday, November 13, 2008

Carbon Offset Consultation

Sara B here, I just wanted to share my thoughts following my participation in the recent Conservation Agriculture Carbon Offset Consultation in West Lafayette, Indiana. The consultation was sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Conservation Technology Information Center. The conference brought together a collection of experts and farmers from all over the world to share their experiences regarding conservation agriculture and the opportunities for soil carbon sequestration in a carbon market.

The consultation demonstrated the extensive knowledge and research available regarding the successful use of agricultural practices such as no-till to sequester soil carbon. Not only that, but at the end of the conference, the group was able to pull together their thoughts and experiences to develop a consensus document on the urgency of promoting conservation agriculture to offset carbon emissions.

In other words, a group of over 80 scientists, regulators and farmers from different countries got together in a room and agreed (yes, agreed!) that soil C sequestration is a ready, tested and critical piece of the solution to the issue of global climate change.

The consultation made it clear to me that to move forward we need:
o To institute a cap-and-trade system to establish the protocols and to create the market demand for soil C sequestration
o To involve farmers in the research, system design, and decision-making
o To establish flexible and cost-effective solutions to promote widespread adoption
o To agree on the answers to the solvable issues of additionality and permanence
o To avoid the trap of “paralysis by analysis” by fine-tuning and improving as we learn through experience
o To keep the doors open for international cooperation and the exchange of ideas

In the words of Michael, a farmer and aggregator with Carbon Farmers from Australia, the house is on fire and the children are at home ... so let's not argue about the color of the water bucket!

For a copy of the documents from the consultation, please check out the Resources over at the Ag Carbon Market Working Group website.

1 comment:

Sara Brodnax said...

One more thing, I just found Michael and his folks over at