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UPSC DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS | CARBON FARMING AND ITS PROMISES | 24TH MAY 2022

Context:

  • Carbon farming and its promises have recently appeared in the news as a set of agricultural practices that promises to help alleviate CO2 issues and combat global warming | CARBON FARMING AND ITS PROMISES.
  • However, this area in agriculture science is still under development, and there are many questions as to how farmers, companies, and governments can carry out the practices described in carbon farming.

Background:

  • Agriculture did pull millions out of poverty but it has also kept a colonialist imprint on the planet in a different way: with differentiated access to nutritious food, reducing the biodiversity of our diet, injudicious ecological practices like monocropping and systematic erosion of soil, and the mounting cost of technology, chemicals — exiling the farmers out of their fair share of the progress and most importantly, deepening the climate change crisis.
  • Under current land management practices, agriculture remains one of the leading contributors to global carbon emissions.
  • However, it is the only economic sector with the potential to transform itself from a net carbon emitter to a net sink using practices broadly classified as “carbon farming.

What is Carbon Farming?

  • Carbon Farming is a whole farm approach. To optimize carbon capture. In working landscapes by implementing. Practices that are known to improve. the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in plant material and/or soil organic matter.

OR

  • Carbon farming is a farm management practice that aims to deliver climate mitigation in agriculture.
  • In simple words, it is a regenerative method of farming, that can improve farm incomes, nutrition, and soil health.
  • Carbon farming also refers to the business model that aims to upscale climate mitigation by paying farmers to implement climate-friendly farm management practices.

CARBON FARMING AND ITS PROMISES

Agriculture and GHG Emissions:

According to the Third Biennial Update Report submitted by the Union government in early 2021 to the UNFCCC, the agriculture sector contributes 14 percent of the total GHG emissions.

Amongst these, are greenhouse gas emissions from rice. Cultivation during 2016 accounted for 71.322 million tonnes of “CO2 equivalent”, which to analysts. Say might have gone up to 72.329 million tonnes “CO2 equivalent” during 2018-19.

This can be reduced by switching. To regenerative agriculture practices and carbon, farming can. Institutionalize and accelerate that shift.

Global Patronage of Climate Farming:

  • The 4 per 1000 initiative was launched in the 2015 Paris climate. The conference showed that increasing soil. Carbon worldwide by just 0.4 percent yearly could offset that year’s new growth. In carbon dioxide emissions from fossil. Fuel emissions.
  • Advisers to US President Joe Biden have suggested that. The new administration launches a carbon bank for farmers as part of a plan to fight climate change, using. The Commodity Credit Corporation to pay agricultural. Producers sequester carbon in the soil.
  • He has already declared the soil to be the next frontier of the climate change fight in Carbon farming and its promises.

 

  • Global private sectors with corporate. Behemoths like McDonald’s, Target, Cargill, Danone, General Mills, and others also pledge to use funds. To support regenerative practices.
  • Many food brands like Applegates — launching their own regenerative food brands to entice the climate-conscious consumers.
  • 2022, has been the biggest year in carbon capture investment with big tech companies like Stripe, Alphabet, Meta, and Shopify announcing $925 million worth of carbon removal offsets over the next eight years.

 

  • In India, Meghalaya is currently working on a blueprint of a carbon farming’ Act to create a prototype of a sustainable agriculture model for the entire Northeast region.
  • Out of the 5.5 million hectares of cultivated land available in the Northeast, organic farming barely covers 3 percent of arable land.
The potential of Carbon Farming:
  • Societal Co-Benefits: Carbon farming has the potential to deliver significant societal co-benefits including biodiversity, soil health, water quality, and others.
  • New Agriculture Business Model: Carbon farming offers. A new agricultural business model, that can fight. Climate change creates jobs and saves farms. That might otherwise be unprofitable.
  • Shift Focus from Improving yields to Functioning Ecosystems: It can incentivize our farmers to introduce regeneratively. Practices in their agricultural processes — helping them shift their focus from. Improving yields to functioning. Ecosystems and sequestering carbon. That can be sold or traded. In carbon markets.
  • Improved Food Quality: It can also result. In improved quality, organic. And chemical-free food (farm-to-fork models) along with boosted/secondary income. Carbon credits for marginalized farmers.
Steps Need to be Taken:
  • Carbon farming mitigation must be permanent. Impermanent mitigation offers little benefit to the climate.
  • An extensive and pioneering carbon farming Act — with a robust transition plan can effectively demonstrate the idea of creating a carbon sink on working land and farm our way out of climate crisis, improve nutrition, reduce the punishing inequalities within farming communities, alter the land use pattern and provide the much-needed solution to fix our broken food systems.
  • Carbon farming incentives need to exceed set-up, ongoing, and other costs for carbon farming to make economic sense to farmers.
  • Investment in research and development, research on socio-economic aspects and barriers to uptake; advisory and technical support; capacity building; and removing policy barriers. Are required to realize. The potential of carbon.
  • For the overall framework of carbon farming. To be successful, it would have to include. Sound policies, public-private partnerships, accurate quantification methodologies, and supportive financing to efficiently implement the idea.
  • There is a need for further. Development of carbon farming monitoring methods. Increased practical experience, and improved assessments of carbon farming. Potential to increase knowledge and reduce. Barriers to carbon farming uptake.

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