Carbon accounting for smallholder agricultural soil carbon projects: Matthias Seebauer, Timm Tennigkeit, Neil Bird, Giuliana Zanchi
For most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the impact of climate change on food security is a major livelihood and security concern. Considering the low level of emissions, countries are much more concerned with responding to rapid climate change and increasing climate resilience than with reducing or removing emissions caused by industrialized countries. However, because 89% (Smith et al. 2007) of agricultural mitigation potential is related to soil carbon sequestration, which has strong synergies with food security (FAO 2009a), and because of the growth in climate finance for providing mitigation services to the industrialized world, agricultural mitigation has generated interest in sub-Saharan Africa (see respective NAMA submissions under the Copenhagen Agreements (FAO 2009b)). Pursuing these mitigation opportunities will require quantifying climate benefits according to verified carbon standards (such as those in the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA)) or monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) standards related to public finance mechanisms in the framework of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to capture related benefits. This chapter describes approaches to account for changes in soil carbon over time, and gives an example of the soil carbon accounting approach used in the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP) (see also Lager and Nyberg). The authors are involved in developing this soil carbon sequestration project including methodology development, MRV system development and soil carbon modelling.