Commodity Online: The implementation of climate smart agricultural practices will go a long in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The theme has now become the main agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) scheduled to start later in November at Durban, according to carbon-investments.co.uk.
The importance of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector has been generally recognised in the Kyoto Protocol. However, carbon-investments.co.uk comments on the limitations of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) with regards to Carbon Credit generation from projects in the agricultural sector.
CDM is one of the major tools enabling developing countries to receive financial aid for sustainable development from industrialised countries that need to meet a part of their emissions reduction targets. Therefore, the insufficient inclusion of agriculture into the CDM reduces the opportunities for climate mitigation action in this sector.
The Johannesburg communiqué from the African Ministerial Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture called upon the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to establish an agriculture Programme of Work that covers adaptation and mitigation.
Carbon-investments.co.uk provides an overview of the attempts of the international community to include carbon offsets from the agricultural sector in the carbon credit market, and in particular, for carbon sequestration in soil. As estimated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its paper on “climate-smart” agriculture, soil carbon sequestration represents 89% of agriculture’s mitigation potential and therefore, international efforts should concentrate on the possibilities to make better use of this potential.
This has been partly done with the FAO’s concept of “climate-smart” agriculture, whose essence carbon-investments.co.uk explains. However, in order to be able to successfully implement climate-smart agriculture practices, developing countries would need to significantly transform their agricultural sectors, which in turn would require increased financing.
The FAO’s newly developed Methodology for Sustainable Grassland Management as a way to overcome the main obstacle for attracting investments for soil carbon sequestration projects through the mechanisms of the Carbon Credit market. Even though the methodology is currently awaiting approval from the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), it has the potential to facilitate the participation of agricultural projects on the voluntary carbon market.
According to carbon-investments.co.uk, the approach of developed nations toward agricultural emissions reduction, and namely the Australian Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), which is the world’s first national scheme regulating the generation of carbon offsets from agriculture and forestry. The CFI, which is expected to become operational in December 2011, will allow Australian farmers and foresters to participate in the carbon credit market, by using government approved methodologies for generating carbon offsets. In addition, carbon-investments.co.uk comments on the European Union’s position on carbon emissions reduction from the agricultural sector.
Despite the seemingly favourable international situation, however, the future of climate-smart agriculture is still uncertain. Carbon-investments.co.uk discusses the challenges of the inclusion of carbon offsets from soil carbon sequestration projects in the compliance carbon market.
Furthermore, it comments on the absence of clarity regarding the outcome of the Durban talks, as well as on the determination of the developing countries to pursue a global solution for the agricultural sector at the upcoming climate change conference in South Africa.
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