Protecting forests is a low-tech way to store carbon that has earned a lot of attention in the efforts fight global warming. Now, another, less discussed way of sequestering carbon is starting to capture the attention of policy makers: carbon farming.As negotiators in Paris continue to work towards an international agreement to fight disastrous levels of climate change, many side events and agreements are also being made. One of those agreements is the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, which was signed by a number of countries, NGOs and companies, and is aiming to provide practical guidelines for climate solutions. The solutions touch on a number of sectors, from finance to building to forests.One of the climate solutions the agenda is pushing is carbon farming, a type agricultural production that actually increases soil carbon. Supporters of organic agriculture have long called for this type of farming, sometimes called No Till farming, but this is the first time soil carbon has been formally included in an international plan to fight climate change.Most modern conventional farming uses tilling to suppress weeds and make it easier to plant, but this process also releases carbon stored in the soil into the air as carbon dioxide (CO2). The benefits of carbon farming are two-fold. First, it reverses the process of releasing carbon, and instead pulls carbon out of the air. Second, it can help improve the soil without synthetic fertilizers and leads to better crop production.Rattan Lal, a soil science professor and founder of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University, says that soil carbon is key to soil biodiversity and nutrient storage, and soil with more carbon is also better at retaining water.
The Blue Oval is starting to get more serious about cleaner transportation, with a commitment of investing billions to bring 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by 2020.Now, I’m not saying it’s connected or anything (wink, wink), but it’s interesting to see how many companies are making big announcements about their green initiatives right around the same time that the global climate summit is happening in Paris. However, even if there was some strategic timing to the news of calls for more fossil fuel divestment, coal phase-outs, and big corporate renewable energy purchases, there’s no harm done if it’s merely stating the facts. As they say, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”In that vein, Ford announced that it would be investing some $4.5 billion over the next five years toward its goal of building better “electrified vehicle solutions” and bringing electrification to 40% of its vehicle lineup by 2020. Seeing as transportation is a key climate issue, it’s only fitting to learn about Ford’s sharpened focus on EVs as a solution. According to the company, it will be adding 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by 2020, which could offer more options for the potential EV customers who aren’t currently able to drive electric, either because of price or driving range or size.