Farming and climate change

FT News


Growing focus on environmentally friendly farming methods with Leslie hook an Emiko terrorism. I'm a co can you tell us a bit about into goes initiative to pay farmers to store, carbon, so I'm plots absorb carbon dioxide from the Ariza grow, and then they release it back to the air and soil as they decompose? What indigo is saying is bomb as we want you to restore so health and increase its ability to store, carbon, and we'll pay for it so farming practices, like, minimal tilling of the soil planting cover crops in between main crops and crop rotation. Having livestock Rome in the fields that can all help the soil capturing carbon is this different than what farmers normally do? Well, traditionally these were what bombers have been doing, but one day intensive bombing practices, like using chemical pesticides, and fertilizers have a rare disloyal health and scientists estimate the across cropland soils as carbon concentration about one percent in this compared to about three percent for naturally. Consistence like forests, I guess, when I'm struggling understand, is how much carbon this is going to save in how they're going to measure it. Leslie. What do you think it is very hard to measure, how long the carbon stays in the soil and to measure each individual plot? And that's always been one of the challenges with this approach. We know that globally. There is a lot of carbon stored in the soil. The top two meters of soil around the earth, contain about three times as much carbon as the atmosphere. So there is a huge store of carbon, they're already and as Emiko says a lot of it has been lost. Scientists I've spoken to have often pointed this figure of four hundred and fifty billion tons of CO, two essentially lost from the soil because of modern farming practices. So that's about a decade's worth of global emissions, and that's going into the atmosphere. So it has had a huge impact, and there's a huge sort of opportunity. Here, but one it is quite difficult to quantify, and I think indigo correct me if I'm wrong, they are planning to use satellite, imagery, and a very novel approach to sort of measure, what the farmers are doing. So indigo says that it will use remote sensing technology from satellites, and satellites, these days, come measure, everything from radiation to see a two levels, so that's what they're going to rely on. And the companies also part of a study with tens of thousands of farms looking at how carbon is stored in soil. But they've also launched a competition calling on innovators and entrepreneurs to come up with scaling up measurement for carbon, so it's a bit of a moving target. It's a cool to arms. But it's you know, I think it's opened a little people's eyes into the potential there. Can you explain a little bit more about the business model and how exactly this is going to be financed? So indigo is going to use its own money to pay them as initially and then settled on the. The so-called common credits to feed companies and other cultural companies what's in it for indigo? I know they've invested in authors of environmental initiatives. And that's kind of their main thing, but how are they going to benefit from this? So one of indigo businesses is selling my Kirby -als to form. So coating seeds with microbials, which is essentially what Sinaga as well, but using those microbials to help bombs reduce chemicals, Passat specializes, so that hoping is farmers turn to traditional soil-friendly methods that they can increase sales. The but also, if arm as have more organic and less pass tied less fertilizer used crops that increases the premium the famous can get and indigo also of his like an EBay for grains. But they offer this marketplace, where palm is combined sell that premium get grains to buzz so they hoping. It will kind of ties together. But I don't think we've said immediately in this scheme, how much to farmers stand to make because they're effectively being subsidised paid to do this. We'll exactly so indigo in two thousand nineteen says the pharmacies lineup this year. They'll pay fifteen dollars for every tonne of carbon. They've managed to store in the soil and this year, the hoping to sign up more than three thousand growers covering more than one million acres, and then eventually going to take these carbon credits and sell them onto company. Exactly Leslie, what do you think about that idea? Is it something that's just a novel need idea? Does it actually have the potential for a bigger impact? Why I think it's interesting because it's one of many efforts that we're starting to see to store more carbon as global emissions hit a record high last year. The gap between what the world should be doing to limit. The worst impacts of global warming and the reality of what's going up in the atmosphere is just growing, and so more people are thinking about what's called negative emissions acknowledges, and these are just ways to. Store carbon in the soil. Underground in the ocean in trees. It kind of covers any way that you're pulling CO two out of the air, and storing it or sequestering it in a place where it won't be released and soil has really been one of the most interesting areas for this sort of negative emissions technology because that's nature's own way of storing a lot of carbon. So in a way it's sort of a low hanging fruit. There's not some technological mystery about how this works so have been a lot of really interesting efforts to try and replenish, the carbon that stored in soil, which can be good for the fertility of the soil and for the crops, as well as good for the atmosphere and from agricultural point of view, the debate about how much bombing and agriculture contribute to emissions is also been growing, and I think policymakers, quite aware. Of the debate around that. And I think they're more actively wanting to find ways to help reduce negate emissions out of agricultural, farming and this is potentially one of the ways have you seen that, as well as yeah, there's a lot of emissions from the cultural sector a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. There's methane emissions from cows. There's emissions from easel trucks, there is a Monja emissions that arise when you fertilize the fields. There's a lot of different types of environmental impacts from farming that are coming under more of a focus. I mean here in the UK there's a lot of discussion over payments to farmers that would reflect sustainable farming practices and reflect the positive environmental impact of what farmers are doing mostly it'd be great to understand just how much of an impact farming has on greenhouse gas emissions as maybe compared to other sources. Well, most people don't instantly think of the farm, as a huge source think of sort of the coal power play. Belching black smoke. But in many countries agriculture is the second largest source of emissions after the power sector globally. It accounts around thirteen percent of greenhouse, gas, emissions now, different farms have different types of environmental impact so cattle farms dairy farms, have a larger impact on greenhouse gas emissions because of the methane that's emitted by cows and farming practices can also have a big impact on emissions and previously. This was overlooked, a lot of the efforts on decarbonisation have really focused on getting rid of coal and cleaning up the power sector, more renewable energy and farming is a very difficult sector to introduce change into because you have so many farmers so many different types of crops, but it's an area where a lot more companies and policymakers are increasingly focusing and how optimistic are people in the sector that initiatives like the indigo one, maybe two? Taken in aggregate are actually going to make a difference. I think there's going to be a lot more research and a lot more funding going into programs like this, we've seen researchers looking at what type of plants can help store more carbon in the soil. We've seen companies like indigo starting to pay farmers. So I think this is an area that's going to see a lot of growth. That was Lauren Fito took into Leslie hook environment correspondent, and Emiko tear is owner or commodities. Correspondent, thanks for listening. Don't forget, if you missed out on a recent episodes of the sale of suburbs auction house caring for dementia, sufferers or Kamala Harris in the race. For the democratic nomination, you can find them all on the usual podcast by booms. He is a few words from Dame. Helen Mirren telling us what she's a fan of. I'm a fan of platform heels on a fan of Fellini and Antonioni. I'm a fan of animation Yanni for me the greatest actors of all. I'm a fan of being a bad ass. I'm a fan of dressing up and glamorous outfits. I'm a fan of luxury. 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