Agriculture can and must be part of the solution to climate change. The French Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, and Ambassador for Paris Climate 2015, Laurence Tubiana, emphasized this imperative at a conference that took place in Paris on April 27, 2015, during which they introduced the carbon sequestration program for agriculture, named “4 per 1000.”
This program aims to adapt agricultural practices with the goal of storing carbon more efficiently in the soil. According to Jean-François Soussana, Scientific Director for Environment of the French National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA), an annual increase of “4 per thousand” (0.4%) each year of organic matter in soil would be enough to compensate for the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Indeed, soil is a veritable reservoir for carbon; it contains 2.6 times more carbon than the atmosphere thanks to plants that siphon carbon from the air and deposit it into the soil once dead. But through most agricultural practices, the soil lets its stock of carbon escape into the air. On average, cultivated soils around the world have lost 50 to 70% of their initial carbon stock, according to Jean-François Soussana. But certain agricultural practices can reverse this trend, fostering carbon-rich soils that will in turn be better suited for production. According to Stephan Le Foll, this program will “reconcile food security and climate change.”
Stéphane Le Foll and Laurence Tubiana presented a work schedule for the researchers participating in this international program, which details the actions to be taken leading up to the climate conference in December 2015 in Paris.
The following agricultural practices are recommended by the French National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA) for fighting global warming: