However, the present range of proposed technical solutions like biochar, no-till agriculture with herbicide-tolerant GM crops, the replacement of fossil energy products with agricultural (raw) products, the potential development of GM crops with completely new traits, and also the wide spread use of commercial biomass processing bio-refineries, additionally because the increasing inclusion of those and more into carbon markets are a diversion from what’s really required. In most cases the effectiveness and therefore the possible negative impacts of the proposed measures don’t seem to be yet assessed, and also the plants are within the early stages of development. Normally, there simply isn’t enough land to account for the proposed projects, and also the danger is that the choice to achieve carbon credits will put even more pressure.

The proposals, faraway from mitigating temperature change, will be expected to significantly worsen it, and to even have a devastating impact on biodiversity. But there are options for using agriculture to mitigate climate change: reversing intensive styles of agriculture, reducing reliance on agrochemicals and drastically reducing meat consumption. The challenge for a post-2012 climate treaty however is to face up to the lobbying of companies eager to profit and take carbon credits from agricultural practices, and to properly stimulate change toward a sustainable and climate-friendly agriculture.



This paper discusses mitigation deals with the causes of global climate change, while adaptation tackles its effects. The Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change (IPCC) defines mitigation as “an anthropogenic intervention to cut back the sources or

enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases” and adaptation as “the adjustment in natural or human systems to a brand new or changing environment. Adaptation to global climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Various sorts of adaptation is distinguished, including anticipatory and reactive adaptation, private and public adaptation, and autonomous and planned adaptation.”1 Further intensification proposed It is widely accepted that industrial agriculture has had destructive impacts on climate, ecosystems, soil, water and biodiversity resources, yet agriculture has hitherto been neglected in UNFCCC negotiations and within the government departments addressing global climate change.

However, in many quarters, including the international organization Framework Convention on temperature change (UNFCCC) itself, further intensification of business agriculture is now proposed as a part of the answer, Agriculture for the climate market Now, as negotiations begin for the new climate treaty to switch the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, proposals are being made to incorporate agriculture as an eligible source for temperature change mitigation, especially soil carbon sequestration. mitigation potential may well be realized, is outside the scope of the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol” but that carbon markets should be introduced to “provide strong incentives for public and personal carbon funds in developed countries to shop for agriculture-related emission reductions from developing countries […].”[4]

We may therefore expect increasing calls for: • agriculture to be included in negotiations of the new climate treaty to exchange the 1997 Kyoto Protocol discussions in Copenhagen (like the suggestions by IFPRI and FAO); • payment for environmental services (PES) for agriculture, to be funded mostly through carbon markets; and • special emphasis on carbon sequestration in soil, including CDM status for biochar. In this context the FAO sees the aforementioned ‘agriculture-related emission reductions from developing countries’ as an opportunity to “provide important investments to spur rural development and sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

Product standards and labels might be developed to certify the mitigation impact of agricultural goods.”[5] However we question his view that such trading systems are unequivocally positive. First of all, the measuring and certification of emissions reductions and therefore the regulation of such markets are going to be an issue in itself. But more importantly, their existence will offer developed countries and their industries the chance to use offset programmers and similar mechanisms to avoid their obligation to scale back their own climate emissions.

Trading services in agriculture won’t address the elemental problems of looking forward to a model of permanent economic process on a planet of finite resources. Instead, having just experienced the impacts of a subprime property market, we now run the chance of building a subprime carbon market whose impacts may be far deadlier.[11] Furthermore, emissions trading hinders emission reduction and efficiency improvements.12 But worst of all we are speeding up the destruction of the biodiversity and ecosystems that are crucial to any hope to stabilise climate, produce food and leave a habitable planet to future generations.

They include bio-diverse ecological agriculture and agro forestry, which might increase food production and reduce the climate footprint of agriculture, additionally as playing a serious role in ecosystem restoration and maintenance. Agriculture should be recognized more clearly as a multifunctional activity. It not only produces food, medicine, materials, fibers, etc, and may effectively recycle wastes into soil restoration, but also has many other roles. Values for people, over and above their need for nourishment. Finally, it’s a repository for knowledge built up over generations that we lose at our peril.[6]


  1. Carbon Trading Proposals for Agriculture

In 2008, 4.9 billion tonnes of dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission reductions were traded on global carbon markets. Overall, carbon trading increased by 83% in barely one year.17 However, trading in emissions reductions doesn’t imply emissions being reduced. Since the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005, global CO2 emissions, including from fuel burning and cement production, are increasing.

The growing carbon markets haven’t led to overall emission reductions within the industrialized nations which are committed to reducing their gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, the so-called Annex 1 countries.18 Instead, the globe is now on track for the worst emissions scenario predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change (IPCC), or perhaps a good worse one.19 Peter Atherton of Citigroup, strongly involved in carbon trading, described the world’s biggest carbon market in 2007: “The European Emissions Trading Scheme has done nothing to curb emissions… Have policy goals been achieved? Nonetheless, the nice majority of proposals for a post-2012 temperature change agreement aim at a major increase in carbon trading, including within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), administered by world organization Framework Convention on global climate change (UNFCCC).

The CDM plays an important role within the carbon markets because CDM credits are often traded on other carbon markets.  Emissions Trading Scheme, which accounts for 2 thirds of all carbon trading.

The sole exception are CDM credits for “afforestation and reforestation” which cannot be traded under the ecu scheme. The CDM has come under sustained criticism, amongst other issues, for funding projects which aren’t ‘additional’ and would have gone ahead anyway, for “being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that ought to Which type of agricultural projects might be funded through carbon trading in future? The UNFCCC Secretariat has summed up the categories of agricultural activities which could in future be subsidised through carbon trading: No-till and low-till, agricultural set asides, agroforestry, conversion of cropland to grassland or forests, carbon sequestration in agro-ecosystems, agrofuels and other forms of industrial bioenergy, peatland restoration, restoration of degraded land, water management, improved rice management, improved livestock and manure management, nitrification inhibitors and changes to the way during which synthetic fertilisers are used.

The governments of 11 African countries, Belize, Micronesia additionally as UNCCD have specifically drawn up the inclusion of biochar into the CDM. Agrofuels and other bioenergy from monocultures, possibly combined with biochar, no-till GM plantations and therefore the industrial livestock industry are likely to draw in the majority of future carbon credits for agriculture. this implies that the bulk of funding is probably going to travel into intensive industrial agriculture, which may be a major reason behind global climate change.

Agrofuels, for instance, are likely to be supported as climate friendly despite overwhelming evidence, including in peer-reviewed studies, that they greatly accelerate warming.[8] Agricultural intensification, which is related to high energy and fossil-fuel-based fertilizer use, is seen as an efficient means of reducing greenhouse, as an example by the IPCC and by the UNFCCC Secretariat.[9] the concept is that raising per hectare yields will reduce pressure on ecosystems. However, agrofuels and other forms of bioenergy, supported by the identical agencies, create a vast new marketplace for agricultural and forest products.

This dashes any hopes that higher yields will lead to less pressure on ecosystems. Whether or not yields may well be raised despite droughts and floods becoming more common thanks to global climate change and despite soil and freshwater depletion, the increased demand for bioenergy will translate higher yields into higher profits and land prices and more incentives for companies to expand agriculture. Some activities which clearly benefit climate and biodiversity have also been proposed for carbon trading, but will this be of benefit to them? REDD: Helping forests or plantation?

The Biochar Fund recently succeeded in obtaining funding from the Congo Basin Forest Fund for reducing deforestation in DR Congo.35 the concept is that tiny farmers who currently practice slashand- burn agriculture can permanently improve their crop yields with biochar and might therefore abandon their current practices. However, biochar and different agricultural practices could yet be included within the REDD-plus Mechanism without having to cut back deforestation. The definition of forests which applies to the CDM is wider than even that of the FAO or the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), which encompasses industrial tree plantations but excludes those agricultural production systems (such as oil palms) and plantations with a mean height of fewer than five meters.

In contrast, the UNFCCC definition includes any plantation of trees or shrubs of quite 2 meters tall, including by default GE trees. Planting feather palm or jatropha plantations could thus be classed as afforestation and reforestation, particularly if existing rules for such schemes are relaxed.

The Mexican government already promotes vegetable oil and jatropha expansion and further intends to incorporate its agricultural sector into its national REDD strategy.[10] However, the United States even goes a step further: They demand a REDD-plus to hide not just forests but all sorts of land use. Countries should be able to choose which sector they want to incorporate first. Under a recent US REDD-plus proposal, it might become legitimate for countries to channel funding exclusively to agribusiness with none try to protect forests in any respect.[11] Support for integrating agriculture into REDD also comes from the International Agricultural and Food Trade Council, which has Monsanto, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever yet as WWF. They seek to mix this with an expansion of the CDM and therefore the inclusion of agriculture into market-based Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Options.


  1. Offsets from no-till agriculture

as some way to mitigate global climate change Non-tillage agriculture (NT), known also as no-till, conservation tillage or zero tillage, could be a cultivation method which avoids soil disturbance. it’s often also described as ‘conservationtillage’ although this term is employed to incorporate some kinds of low tillage.39 Modern development of NT began after ICI discovered the herbicide Paraquat in 1955. Before that, it absolutely was assumed that tillage was necessary to enhance water infiltration and control weeds.

This method it’s applied in eroded and depleted soils. one among its main advantages is that the soil is never exposed, helping to scale back the potential for erosion and evaporation. NT is alleged to enhance the soil-aggregate formation, its microbial activity in addition as water infiltration and storage. In NT the new crop is sown into the residues of the previous crop. NT is utilized in chemical agriculture which incorporates herbicide tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops. Unlike conventional tillage, which controls weed growth by ploughing and cultivating, NT agriculture uses herbicides to kill weeds and therefore the remains of the previous crop,[12]. NT wasn’t developed for GM systems but lends itself for herbicide tolerant crop production, large machines, one-pass of the tractor, hence NT is massively embraced for GM. Soils are among our most precious common assets.

Once degraded, they’re difficult to revive. they’re complex structures where an oversized diversity of organisms live along with organic and non-organic matter. Land and soils have many functions, for ecosystems likewise a person’s societies, and any increase of the carbon sink function must not disturb other functions. It first discusses the claims associated with climate mitigation and entails granting offsets for NT agriculture then illustrates how the agricultural system functions by presenting Argentina as case study, that specialize in the environmental impacts of GM NT soybean production. The claim: Notill can reduced CO2 within the atmosphere through storage in soil sinks. The International Panel for global climate change (IPCC) 2006 gas Inventory Guidelines suggest that conversion from conventional tillage (CT) to NT systems ends up in a tenth increase within the estimated sequestration of carbon within the soil.[13] However, the IPCC’s more moderen Assessment Report 4 stresses uncertainty: Adopting reduced- or no-till may additionally affect N2O, emissions but the web effects are inconsistent and not well- quantified globally.”[14]

There is little understanding of how tillage controls soil respiration in relevancy N2O emissions and de- nitrification. Higher CO2 and N2O fluxes were registered in NT soil than in CT soil no matter nitrogen source and soil moisture content.[15] Furthermore new studies have cast doubt on the carbon sequestration claims.[16] for instance, a review of studies that examined carbon sequestration in NT systems found that the sampling protocol produced biased results. within the majority of the studies Baker et al.[17] reviewed, soils were only sampled to a depth of 30 cm or less.

The few studies that sampled at deeper levels found that NT showed no consistent build of soil organic carbon. Conversely studies that have involved deeper sampling generally show no carbon sequestration advantage for conservation FAO and therefore the Conservation Technology Information Center imply carbon off sets from no-till or conservation agriculture In August 2008, FAO made a submission to the UNFCCC to propose variety of practices to cut back the speed of CO2 released through soil respiration and to extend soil carbon sequestration, including conservation tillage (NT).[18]

In October 2008 this was followed by the publication of an appointment titled “Framework for Valuing Soil Carbon as a Critical Ecosystem Service” by FAO and also the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC). In this, the 2 institutions involved a wider adoption of conservation agricultural systems, and recommend the inclusion of carbon offsets from conservation agriculture.[19] Argentina soils as an example GM no-till agriculture Argentina has nowadays (2009) nearly 17 million hectares cultivated with GM soya under no-till systems.

This represents 20% of the entire acreage under no-till practice worldwide.[20] Due to the increased availability of seeds and technology

and thanks to a lower cost for agrochemicals, GM agriculture was adopted in Argentina within the 1990s. The NT system was perceived as an answer to the soil degradation present within the Pampas region.[21] At that point, NT was mainly known for the conservation of organic matter and better water utilization. However, after quite ten years of using NT for the cultivation of mainly GM soya,[22] profound negative  environmental impacts are occurring.

The utilization of pesticides induces resistance in weeds, resulting in a rise within the quantity and style of pesticides used. Soil fertility is declining thanks to intense production, and soil demineralization is addressed by the employment of synthetic fertilizers, whose production is energy intensive and whose use generates emissions of N2O. The massive quantity of chemicals, sprayed by terrestrial and aerial means, has negative impacts on biodiversity, water, soil, human and animal health. Furthermore, the difference of NT methods are directly linked to greater deforestation within the seasonally dry forests within the north-west and thus to accelerated regional and global global climate change.[23] The 1997, the Argentinean National inventory report for the UNFCCC acknowledged the soils under no-till GM soya fields as possible carbon sinks. During this report the no-till producers association AAPRESID [24] was the UNFCCC inventory rapporteur for the emissions for the change for the utilization of land.[25]



The capacity to sequestrate carbon in soil under no-till agriculture isn’t conclusively proven and a comparison with other management systems must be made. the very fact that FAO incorporate offsets from the “conservationist/NT agriculture” along with the biotech industry shows vested interests which are playing against the independence required from a UN institution dealing, during this case, with one among the foremost precious common goods that this civilization and therefore the planet itself has the: soil. Argentina is presented as a paradigm of intensive GM no-till agriculture where the ecosystem is seriously tormented by the soya cultivation. Soil demineralization and pollution are registered and possibly widespread across the soya regions.

The adverse impact of the no-till system is additionally evident in soil compaction which incorporates a direct impact on the proliferation of weed shifts and also the emergence of recent diseases. pesticides contribute to the loss of soil biota. If GM/NT agriculture is inspired by Carbon Credit systems, then the scenario of the un-sustainability of the agricultural landscapes are going to be of widespread havoc. within the short term, it appears to simplify agriculture, but within the long run, it could have serious negative impacts on both climate and agriculture.



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  • United Nations (2008): Challenges and opportunities for mitigation in the agricultural sector UNFCCC: FCCC/TP/2008/8.
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  • See for example: Fargione J. Hill J., Tilman D., Polasky St. & Hawthrone P (2008): Land clearing and the biofuel carbon Science 319(5867): 1235-1238; and Searchinger et al. (2008): Use of US cropland for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land use change. Science 319(5867): 1238-1240
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  • United States of America (2009): United States Input to the Negotiating Text for Consideration at the 6th Session of the AWG-LCA. Copenhagen Decision Adopting the Implementing Agreement. submitted on 4.5.2009; pdf
  • A form of NT weed control is also used in organic However, it is not used extensively, because it involves considerable work and because usually the cover crop residue is not able to smother weeds effectively with a 5% uncertainty factor
  • Smith P. et al. (2007): Agriculture. In: IPCC (eds.): Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Chapter
  • Liu X.J., Mosier A.R., Halvorson A.D., Reule C.A. & Zhang F. (2007): Dinitrogen and N2O emission in arable soils: Effect of tillage, N source and soil moisture. Journal of Soil Biology and Biochemistry 39: 2362-2370.
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Franzluebbers A.J. & Studemann J.A. (2009): Soil-profile organic carbon and total nitrogen during 12 years of pasture management in the Southern Piedmont USA. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 129: 28-36.

  • Baker J.M., Ochsner T.E., Venterea R.T. & Griffis T.J. (2007): Tillage and soil carbon sequestration – what do we really know? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 118: 1-5.
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  • The lack of rotations in the Argentinean soya region it is mainly due to two factors: (a) high international demand and the comparative greater profits from soya, and (b) productive lands are rented to exogenous companies, who are not looking at soil as a resource to preserve.
  • Grau H.R., Gasparri N.I. & Aide T.M. (2005): Agriculture expansion and deforestation in seasonally dry forests of north-west Argentina. Environmental Conservation 32: 140-148.
  • Aapressid was created in 1988, after Monsanto had paid for all the start-up costs, Ekboir J. & Parellada G. (2002): Public-Private Interactions and technology policy in innovation processes for zero tillage in Argentina. In Byerlee D. & Echeverria (eds.): Agricultural Research Policy in an Era of Privatization, CAB International; pdf
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26 Taboada M.A. (2004): Inventario de gases efecto invernadero del sector agricola Argentino. Presentation at: II taller sobre la 2da            comunicacion de cambio climatico, 29.11.2004; o%20taller/Agricultura%20-%20Agro.ppt#1

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M.L. & Molfese E.R. (2006): T25 – Impacto de la inclusion de soja en secuencias agricolas del sur bonaerense: El balance de nutrientes. Chacra experimental integrada Barrow, Tecnología de Cultivo: 561-565; df

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