©Xavier Remongin/Min.agri.fr

In March, a permanent parliamentary Commission of the French parliament, charged with science and technological issues, published a report on the importance of carbon soil sequestration as a major issue for climate and food. It notably underlined the importance of the French-initiated 4 per 1000 Initiative.

The report stresses the important role of soils regarding environmental issues. It highlights that “producing” a soil takes thousands of years, and that we should consider soils as non-renewable ressources. Storing more carbon in a soil has an impact on climate change, but also improves the physico-chemical quality of the soil’s components, its ability to combat erosion, and its fertility.

It reaches three main conclusions:

  • Soils can store more carbon than they emit, in certain conditions, even if there are still some scientific consensus to be reached on the exact levels;
  • Storing more carbon in soils is a potentially extremely beneficial tool because, on the one hand, it allows to compensate for human emissions of CO2, and on the other hand, it allows to increase food security by increasing soil health;
  • Research programs need to be encouraged, notably to increase our understanding of soils and to implement practices that encourage carbon soil sequestration in agricultural soils, such as the 4 per 1000 Initiative.