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Tierras ricas en carbono pueden evitar catástrofes climáticas

ARLINGTON, Estados Unidos, 31 mar 2020 (IPS) – Las tierras ricas en carbono, en bosques, turberas y humedales, pueden ahorrarle al planeta una catástrofe climática, a condición de que no se destruyan ni se degraden, advirtió una investigación de la organización Conservation International divulgada este martes 31.

El carbono irrecuperable se encuentra en seis de los siete continentes en que la organización divide el planeta, incluidas grandes reservas en la Amazonia, en la cuenca del Congo, Indonesia, el noroeste de América del Norte, el sur de Chile, el sudeste de Australia y en Nueva Zelanda.

La investigación, dirigida por los científicos Allie Goldstein y Will Turner, destacó que “el mundo necesita que el carbono irrecuperable que contienen estas tierras, más de 260 000 millones de toneladas, se quede en el suelo”, para alcanzar la meta de emisiones cero requerida en el planeta para el año 2050.

En cambio, si se libera a la atmósfera a través de la destrucción del ecosistema, este carbono generaría 26 veces las emisiones globales de combustible fósil de 2019.

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You’ve Heard of Offsetting, but What in the World Is Carbon Insetting?

These days, paying to plant trees or investing in green projects as a way to balance out your carbon emissions is a pretty standard method of easing your environmental conscience. Known as carbon offsetting, the process has spawned a thriving business making billions of euros every year as companies trade carbon credits to reach climate change goals.

You can now even offset to undo your own personal environmental damage, with airlines and organisations offering to help you take full responsibility for your residual emissions. For a small fee, of course. Increasingly, however, this sustainability solution has come under fire from activists as being little more than greenwashing. Critics have compared it to the practice of selling indulgences in the ancient Catholic church; you can live how you want as long as you have the money to buy off your sins.

What if, instead of making environmental protection a side issue, businesses made these kinds of carbon-absorbing projects a part of the new normal?

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Restoring Soils Could Remove up to ‘5.5bn Tonnes’ of Greenhouse Gases Every Year

Replenishing and protecting the world’s soil carbon stores could help to offset up to 5.5bn tonnes of greenhouse gases every year, a study finds.

This is just under the current annual emissions of the US, the world’s second largest polluter after China.

Around 40 per cent of this carbon offsetting potential would come from protecting existing soil carbon stores in the world’s existing forests, peatlands and wetlands, the authors say.

In many parts of the world, such soil-based “natural climate solutions” could come with co-benefits for wildlife, food production and water retention, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

Ground up

The top metre of the world’s soils contains three times as much carbon as the entire atmosphere, making it a major carbon sink alongside forests and oceans.

Soils play a key role in the carbon cycle by soaking up carbon from dead plant matter. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and this is passed to the ground when dead roots and leaves decompose.

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Natural Solutions to the Climate Crisis? One-quarter Is All down to Earth

Joint research conducted by the Nature Conservancy and the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, calculated the carbon-storing power of global soils and showcased approaches like agroforestry designed to capitalise on untapped potential.

A critical, nature-based approach to mitigating  has been right at our feet all along, according to a new study reporting that soil represents up 25% of the total global potential for  (NCS) – approaches that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it into landscapes, including forests, croplands and peatlands.

Representing the first time soil’s total global potential for carbon-mitigation across forests, wetlands, agriculture and grasslands together has been cataloged, the study provides a timely reminder not to neglect the power of soils and the many benefits these ecosystems can deliver for climate, wildlife and agriculture.

Published in the journal Nature Sustainability, the study is titled “The role of soil carbon in natural climate solutions.” The research also argues that a lack of clarity to date regarding the full scale of this opportunity and how to best capitalize on it has restricted investment.

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Deja tu hamburguesa vegetariana. ¿podrían las vacas realmente resolver la crisis climática?

Danie Slabbert señala el ganado que le devolvió la vida a su granja. Bajando la cuesta delante de él, 500 vacas Drakensberger negras y Nguni moteadas pastan con sus cabezas sumergidas en el pasto.

El granjero del Estado Libre hizo un gesto con el estafador de su pastor gigante.

“Si el ganado es parte de la naturaleza, como lo es ahora, entonces mis vacas mantienen vivo el sistema”, dice. “¿Cómo puedes pensar que la carne es el problema?”

“Me he convertido en un administrador de esta tierra y las vacas son la clave”, dice Slabbert.

Imita la migración

Antes de la llegada de los colonos con sus rifles y vagones, esta parte de lo que hoy es la provincia del Estado Libre de Sudáfrica era una gran pradera. Más de 30 especies de hierba han anclado las llanuras onduladas; forraje para millones de antílopes migratorios.

Con el tiempo, los rebaños salvajes fueron sacrificados y gran parte de las llanuras se convirtieron en campos de maíz y papas.

Todavía hay muchos pastizales aquí, o veld, como lo llaman los sudafricanos. Los agricultores como Slabbert miran a estos enormes rebaños para recrear el ciclo natural.

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What If We Could Eat Our Way to a Healthier Planet?

Climate change, and related issues, dominate the headlines, our news feeds and infiltrate our daily conversations. It’s a critical problem that weighs heavily on our society, but research shows we might be able to eat our way out of the problem. That’s right, a promising solution is lying right beneath our feet — in the soil.

The practice of regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that treats farms holistically, as part of whole ecosystems. Modern conventional farms segment crops into separate monocultures, which strips the soil of nutrients and releases stored carbon into the atmosphere. In contrast, regenerative agriculture draws carbon out of the air and into the soil while replenishing and nourishing the land. The result is more productive farms, healthier and more nutritious crops — and it might be the magic we need to fight climate change.

According to the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, increasing the level of carbon in soils by just 0.4% could halt the progress of climate change. Raising that level to 4% might actually reverse the damage done to our planet.

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Una Visita a la Granja de Frutas Orgánicas Regenerativas de André Leu en Queensland

“Cuando Leu compró su granja de 150 acres hace 20 años en la región de Daintree, en el norte de Australia, la tierra se había degradado y la selva tropical nativa había sido destruida. Sabía que la mayor parte de la propiedad valdría mucho más si la devolvía al bosque primario natural, así que eso fue lo que hizo. Hoy, 100 acres han sido devueltos a la selva tropical y él cultiva más de 100 especies diferentes de frutas tropicales en los otros 50 acres “.

–- Anna Lappé, escribiendo para Civil Eats

 

Se han desarrollado métodos para regenerar el carbono y la fertilidad del suelo para cada suelo y clima. Recientemente, visité la granja de frutas orgánicas de André Leu en Queensland, Australia. Fui acompañado por un equipo de filmación documental de Toronto financiado por el gobierno Canadiense.

La granja frutícola de André Leu está rodeada de granjas de caña de azúcar convencionales. El suelo en las fincas de caña de azúcar tiene alrededor del 1% de materia orgánica.

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Soil Carbon: The Secret Weapon to Battle Climate Change?

Human society is literally built on soil. It feeds the world and produces vital fuel and fiber. But most people rarely give soil a second thought.

Recently, though, soil has been getting some well-deserved attention from environmental organizations, policymakers and industry leaders. It has been covered in news articles, argued over in policy debates and has even received an international day of recognition.

Why all this attention? Because the world urgently needs ways to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, and to build food security for a rapidly growing global population. Soil can do both.

However, current efforts to promote carbon storage in soil miss a key point: Not all soil carbon is the same. As scientists focusing on soil ecology and sustainability, we believe that managing soil carbon effectively requires taking its differences into account.

Soil carbon is amazingly complex

Building up soil carbon can help cut greenhouse gas concentrations in the air. It also improves soil quality in many ways: It gives soil structure, stores water and nutrients that plants need and feeds vital soil organisms.

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Can Vegans And Ranchers Work Together To Rebuild The World’s Soil?

The agriculture sector is one of the biggest emitters of CO2. A 2018 study published in Nature concluded that Americans need to eat 90% less beef and 60% less milk to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.

But as awareness spreads around the benefits of a plant-based diet on the environment, a growing regenerative agriculture (RA) movement says livestock is actually integral to shaping farming practices that will save the planet.

The world’s soil has been degraded by humans via their management of animals—ploughing, intense grazing and clear-cutting—and according to the United Nations, it will be completely degraded in the next 60 years. This is bad news for the quality of crops, and for carbon emissions, since soil captures carbon and prevents it from going into the environment.

In a separate report from 2017, also published in Nature, scientists note that increasing the carbon content of the world’s soils by just a few parts per thousand each year could remove from the atmosphere the same amount of CO2 of the EU.

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Down Under

Australia is salty, flat, and mostly dry. Repeated submerging by the ocean over the eons combined with a lack of geological uplift (necessary for weathering rock into topsoil) created thin, nutrient-poor soils that were rapidly depleted by a pattern of colonial agricultural designed for the wet climes of England. Plow, cow, sheep, gun, dog, fox, rabbit, and tractor – all exotic – transformed Australia’s fragile ecosystem into a ravished landscape of eroding gullies, denuded flora, and declining native fauna. The advent of industrialized crop and livestock production after World War II made things worse as tilling and overgrazing continued to deplete what remained of the soil’s fertility.

As I saw on my trip, however, a corner had been turned in Australia’s assault on its soil. On a sheep farm in northwest New South Wales called Winona, owned by Colin Seis, I learned that not only are Australians re-hydrating the soil of their depleted continent but they are re-carbonizing it as well.

 

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