If we attack the climate issue with sacrifices necessary for success, we will ruin economies and it doesn't look as if we can achieve the various cut backs in a timely fashion. Plus, we cheat on telling ourselves exactly what levels we need to achieve. These sacrifices will have to come from every industry and from every part of the world. We are already arguing over what can be blamed on this or that... whose fault is it, and who should suffer the greatest from the sacrifices to be made. This level of non-thinking has led us to inaction on every front.
Some believe that a miracle technology will be discovered or invented or somehow come into being in time to fix the problem so that sacrifices can be avoided. In a manner of speaking that technology has been with us for a long time but, primarily for corporate economic justifications, we are refusing to utilize this knowledge and 'technology'. It is called 'organic farming'. But, to make it more attractive, we have upgraded the label and rebranded it, now it is "regenerative organic agriculture". Or, to give it a scientific aura we can call it "agroecology". It is an obvious and immediately available solution to our problem.
Too much carbon in the atmosphere will kill us. Carbon can be returned to the soil and can make the soil more productive in producing food. Carbon in the soil supports ecological systems.
Recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term “regenerative organic agriculture.” These practices work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect.
Regenerative organic agriculture for soil-carbon sequestration is tried and true: Humans have long farmed in that fashion, and there is nothing experimental about it. What is new is the scientific verification of regenerative agricultural practices. Farming trials across the world have contrasted various forms of regenerative and conventional practices and studied crop yield, drought impact, and carbon sequestration. Some of these studies are in their third decade of collecting data.
It costs little and is adaptable to local contexts the world over. It can be rolled out tomorrow providing multiple benefits beyond climate stabilization. The solution is farming. Not just business-as-usual industrial farming, but farming like the Earth matters. Farming like water and soil and land matter. Farming like clean air matters. Farming like human health, animal health and ecosystem health matters. Farming in a way that restores and even improves on soil’s natural ability to hold carbon. This kind of farming is called regenerative organic agriculture and it is the short-term solution to climate change we need to implement today.
We don’t have to wait for technological wizardry: regenerative organic agriculture can substantially mitigate climate change, now.
Unfortunately, the EPA estimate of 18% still doesn't include a large portion of the fuel, the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, some of the nitrous oxide, all of the CFCs and bromines, and most of the transport emissions. When they are counted, agriculture's share of the U.S. carbon footprint will be at least 25 to 30%.
Oftentimes we see all greenhouse gasses as being equivalent to carbon dioxide (CO2). But, methane emissions are 21 times and nitrous oxides 310 times more damaging as greenhouse gasses than CO2. Since agriculture is one of the largest producers of methane and nitrous oxide, the extent of the agricultural impact is staggering. Unless we change our bad habits of food production and long distance delivery, we will not be able to deal with climate change.