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Captured carbon: Black gold or a green deal?

Our very own Mandy Stoker has written for The Mint Magazine on the conundrums posed to farmers seeking to enhance the value of their soil.

The IPPC report published in April gave stark warnings about achieving the targets set to keep the global temperature increase below 2oC. While the UK is making improvements, there is still no evidence of us implementing policies that go far enough. Put simply, carbon stocks held within the land, soil and biosphere are still being emitted to the atmosphere at a greater rate than that being sequestered back into the earth. This is despite the wealth of regulations that aim to reduce use of energy generated by fossil fuels that have come into existence over the past decade.

It's easier to see improvements in an impoverished soil, versus one that is in good health. So it seems that farmers that have looked after their soil will be rewarded less than those that have neglected it

Granted, some large consumers of energy, such as foundries, are subject to carbon quotas and trade carbon credits, but the markets have been weak thus far providing little incentive to change behaviour. As well as reducing emissions, removing carbon from the air and storing it provides further mitigation. However, the IPPC report was a shot across the bows stating: “Agriculture, forestry and other land use cannot compensate for mitigation shortfalls in other sectors”. In other words, the solution is not a matter of paying for carbon to be captured and expecting to carry on with business as usual.

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