A group of officials from NGOs and governments around the world gather to officially add their signatures in support of the 4 per 1000 Initiative. MinAgri.

A group of officials from NGOs and governments around the world gather to officially add their signatures in support of the 4 per 1000 Initiative. MinAgri.

France’s innovative 4 per 1000 Initiative was officially launched Dec. 1 during the COP 21 climate talks in Paris, and more than 100 nations, non-profits and NGOs have signed on as giving their official support to the program, which promotes sequestering carbon in the soil.

“4 per 1000 is essentially a global initiative. We must continue to mobilize the largest possible number of actors in order to engage agriculture in a transition that, beyond answering the challenge of food security, can answer the question of reducing climate change,” French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll said, welcoming the international mobilization around the initiative.

According to scientists, increasing the amount of carbon stored in soils by 0.4% annually would compensate for all annual human greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The “4 per 1000” initiative aims to accomplish that by engaging nations and NGOs in support of innovative carbon-sequestration pratices.

The call for support was widely successful, particularly in countries whose agricultural techniques emit a particularly large amount of carbon. This is notably the case in New Zealand. Agriculture is at the center of that country’s economy, and represents 49% of national greenhouse gas emissions. 4 per 1000’s focus on reducing agriculturally based greenhouse gas emissions is thus very well received by many developed countries with carbon-intensive agricultural systems.

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It’s also very well received in many developing countries, particularly because the initiative also places a large focus on improving food security alongside its important efforts to use agriculture as a tool to fight climate change. Several African nations have pledged their support for the initiative, and the head of the African Union’s New Partnership for African Development, Assane Mayaki, says the AU “strongly supports” the “4 per 1000” initiative.

Soil degradation poses a risk to more than 40% of the Earth’s land surfaces and climate change is accelerating this rate, threatening food security. Through the promotion of a transition toward more productive, resilient and sustainable soil management, these potentially disastrous effects of climate change can be avoided.

The initiative establishes a research and scientific cooperation program on a global scale to assess mechanisms to increase carbon sequestration in soils and improve food security. The initiative engages actors at all levels, from governments all the way to individual farmers to improve our relationship with soils and agriculture.

Innovative initiatives like the “4 per 1000” program are essential to reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. If the planet is to achieve its goal of limiting global average temperature increases of less than 2°C – which climate scientists say is required for limiting the most severe effects of climate change – the world will need innovative climate solutions like the 4 per 1000 plans’ proposals to sequester carbon in soils.

Find out more by watching these videos explaining the 4 per 1000 Initiative: