chapter  10
22 Pages

Economic, biological and policy constraints on the adoption of carbon farming in temperate regions

ByAlan Renwick, Andrew S. Ball, Jules N. Pretty

We begin with an analysis of the estimates of the potential capacity for agriculture to sequester carbon. The necessary land-use and management practices are then considered, followed by a discussion of the limitations in our understanding of the biological processes leading to soil-carbon sequestration and the techniques currently being developed to address this. We then consider the economics of soil sequestration. First, the difficulties in measuring the costs and benefits associated with carbon sequestration are considered. Policy implications are then discussed with particular reference to how existing agricultural policies (such as the EU’s set-aside policy) may be adapted to promote carbon sequestration. Available empirical evidence on the marginal cost of carbon sequestration in agriculture is presented and this is compared with the likely value of carbon permits. Estimates of the potential financial benefits to agriculture are considered and finally conclusions are drawn as to the future positive role of temperate agriculture in carbon sequestration.