Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy ?

These two articles by By David Pannell ( from Australia) has certainly made me think



The comments section is worth reading too as I believe these policies are going to become more relevant for us all over the coming months/ years.

In his first paper David makes 6 pertinent points as to why Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy .

His focus is mainly on Australian farming methods but I think we can learn from it here in UK

As a taster here is one point he makes: (but read the whole report to really understand his position)

2. Soil sequestration is a once-off process. People seem to imagine that new carbon can continue to be sequestered indefinitely, but once farmers change their management to increase soil carbon, it increases up to a new equilibrium level after about 20-30 years and then stops. Farmers need to stick with the new management regime to avoid releasing the carbon they have sequestered, so costs continue to be incurred, but not new benefits that would justify further payments.

Are we traveling down a path where farmers will be the main losers over time?
 

tepapa

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North Wales
Not read them yet but on your last paragraph about it being bad for farmers. Yes it's a trap.
Sure looks like it. Once farmers have captured all this carbon. They'll be made to hold onto it indefinitely. Heaven forbid you ploughed some ground and released it. You'll be condemned worse then flying on a long haul flight, which is obviously carbon neutral thanks to offsetting 🤦‍♀️.
 
Still haven't read it yet. But I will say I have no problems with being paid to store carbon in my soils. But I won't be doing it for a one off payment and an agreement to hold it there for X amount of time. If you want me to store your carbon so you can keep polluting then it will be a regular payment on my terms. If it disappears naturally, which it can as carbon is liquid in soils and changes all the time, then it's not my problem. It can't come back on the farmers when it does change through no fault of their own. If you plough it all up then fair enough, but of farmers are going to be penalised when/if this carbon they agree to store goes away then the whole scheme will be a disaster waiting to happen. Just wait till you have to buy back more credits to cover what is missing and you will wish you had never heard of carbon credits. And I bet the ones you have to buy to replace it will be more expensive than what you were given in the first place.
That's why I say it's a trap. Big business isn't doing this out of the goodness of their heart to help us.
What really pisses me off is that all this won't make a sh!t of a difference to the climate because the big polluting companies get to keep polluting. They just throw some money around and pretend it's all gone away. It hasn't! But they get to look to their customers and feel good about it but nothing has actually changed.
 
Sure looks like it. Once farmers have captured all this carbon. They'll be made to hold onto it indefinitely. Heaven forbid you ploughed some ground and released it. You'll be condemned worse then flying on a long haul flight, which is obviously carbon neutral thanks to offsetting 🤦‍♀️.

We've seen effective chemicals banned on a regular basis, UK chemical industry destroyed and no new chemistry being developed by France or Germany.

The plough is being targetted because it is a key instrument in keeping UK agriculture running.

You don't see Civil Service Offices, Civil Service Cars and Civil Service jollies being targetted because of their climate impact.
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
Senegal is investing heavily in re greening the desert, it's not easy but they're learning lessons...

 
Yes its a trap. No soil capture can never offset fossil carbon release.
It depends on what you read whether it can or not. It can definitely help but it needs sending down deep via long roots if it's to be stored for a long time. Short grass won't get it down low enough and that is the carbon that's more likely to escape.
It's the pitfalls that come with the contracts I've seen that are a trap as it could disappear through no fault of your own. But you have to carry the can if it does....
It's an easy way to blame farmers again when it doesn't work.
Everyone: this carbon credits thing isn't working!
Microsoft: well we paid the farmers to keep carbon in the soil and they didn't do it's their fault!
Everyone: fudgeing farmers!
Farmers: wtf
 

CornishTone

Member
Location
Cornwall
Not sure I fully agree with his 5th point...

5. One of the main methods being suggested for increasing soil carbon is converting land from crop production to perennial pastures. (It is the one practice that is highlighted on the Government’s Soil Carbon web page.) Not only would switching to perennial pastures be substantially less profitable for many crop farmers – a far greater drop in profit than can be offset by any plausible carbon payment – but it will actually increase emissions overall, at least with current technologies. What farmers do with pastures is use them to run livestock, and methane emissions from livestock are a bigger concern than emissions from cropping. Sooner or later, governments will realise this and they will rule out making any payments unless livestock are excluded from the pastures, which will make the approach a non-starter for farmers. Scientists have been working on ways to reduce emissions from livestock for at least 20 years, but there doesn’t yet seem to be a practical solution.

...but that's probably another debate.

In reality, the only way this system can work is if farmers take small areas for carbon sequestration/storage and treat it a bit like Countryside Stewardship, by making their system fit into your system, not vice versa. It's only ever a top up rather than the main source of income. In that vane, short term deals (5-10 years) can be done where a farmer can be paid by Company X, for example, to do things that protect or increase SOC, and after that period the land is free to return to the rotation if required.

If this bloke's suggestion that everyone would inevitably grow grass were to come to pass, it would cause other issues. I like steak as much as the next man, but I still like a few spuds with it. We still need to grow crops other than grass so, his prediction is a bit unrealistic.

And don't get me started on tree's for carbon off-setting!! :mad:

Roughly speaking, 0.1% increase in organic matter = 8.9t/ha of atmospheric carbon, so with small adjustments to management, there's a lot of land around the world that can soak up a few million tons of C. Crucially though, we have to stop dragging it out of the ground in the first place for that to make any difference, otherwise they're just paying for business as usual and nothing changes.

There are already traders in London trying to do deals with UK farmers for carbon, with absolutely no idea how to measure or manage SOC stocks, no idea about seasonal or soil type variation, and definitely no idea that there might be an upper limit, what to do once you get there and what to do once their agreement ends. It's going to be like the Wild f*#@ing West until Government steps in to regulate it, and once they do you definitely won't make any money; they will!

Like @hendrebc says, farmer beware!!!
 

Bogweevil

Member
These two articles by By David Pannell ( from Australia) has certainly made me think



The comments section is worth reading too as I believe these policies are going to become more relevant for us all over the coming months/ years.

In his first paper David makes 6 pertinent points as to why Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy .

His focus is mainly on Australian farming methods but I think we can learn from it here in UK

As a taster here is one point he makes: (but read the whole report to really understand his position)

2. Soil sequestration is a once-off process. People seem to imagine that new carbon can continue to be sequestered indefinitely, but once farmers change their management to increase soil carbon, it increases up to a new equilibrium level after about 20-30 years and then stops. Farmers need to stick with the new management regime to avoid releasing the carbon they have sequestered, so costs continue to be incurred, but not new benefits that would justify further payments.

Are we traveling down a path where farmers will be the main losers over time?
Thanks, nice to read something by a genuine expert not the usual climate change denying nut.
 

Could a ‘Meat Tax’ be on the cards in the UK?

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Written by Richard Halleron from Agriland

The latest machination coming from the so-called ‘opinion formers’, who seem to have the ear of government advisors in London, is the introduction of a ‘Meat Tax’ at consumer level.

This approach, it is argued, would have the combined impact of reducing meat consumption levels (I can really see the health benefits coming through now), while also helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint of production agriculture.

What absolute drivel! In my opinion, none of this makes sense at any level. This is a scurrilous and unfounded attack on livestock farming in this part of the world.

Yet, it has to be taken seriously. I make this point because economists at Rothamsted Research have already crunched the numbers where the introduction of a ‘UK...
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