Agriculture Holds Key to Solving Global Warming

Agriculture, so often cited as a factor in global decline - for claiming natural grasslands that store carbon, soil erosion and pesticide runoff - could become a big part of the solution to global warming, according to a hopeful report by Worldwatch Institute released today.

Innovations in food production and land use that are ready to be put to work could reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to roughly 25 percent of global fossil fuel emissions and be managed to reduce carbon already in the atmosphere as well, according to WWI and Ecoagriculture Partners.

Carbon capture technology remains unproven and will take a decade at least to put into operation. By contrast, agricultural and land use management practices that are ready today could be employed to sequester carbon through photosynthesis by growing and sustaining more plants.

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To understand how and why the agricultural approach to climate change must be a part of the solution, the public first needs to recognize that the world must "go negative" with carbon emissions - producing fewer than it churns out to reach the necessary reductions by 2050, said Sara Scherr, co-author with Sajal Sthapit of the report, Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use.

Policymakers must go beyond improving energy efficiency and scaling up renewables and add ways to pull down emissions from forestry and agriculture operations.

The report outlines five ways to reduce and sequester carbon using farming strategies:

 * Enriching soil carbon.

* Farming with perennials.

 * Climate-friendly livestock production.

 * Protecting natural habitat.

 * Restoring degraded watersheds and range lands.

For more detail on the report: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18158.cfm

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