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RECSOIL: recarbonization of global soils to offset global emissions

Enhancing soil carbon stocks allows to mitigate increasing contents of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and at the same time improve food security and climate change resilience.

10/07/2019

Can soils help offset international aviation emissions? The international aviation sector is responsible for 1.3 percent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Even considering the technological and operational improvements planned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a large gap (equivalent to 523 megatonnes CO2 emissions) remains to meet the set emission reduction targets.

The booklet "RECARBONIZATION OF GLOBAL SOILS: A DYNAMIC RESPONSE TO OFFSET GLOBAL EMISSIONS" presents soil carbon sequestration as a feasible option for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation as part of a market-based mechanism. Soil carbon sequestration is a key element of sustainable soil management because the preservation and enhancement of SOC in agricultural systems fosters effective nutrient cycling, enhances porosity facilitating plant root growth, reduces atmospheric CO2 concentrations and enhances resilience by improving the soils’ water-holding capacity. In turn, fostering soil carbon sequestration can contribute to achieving hunger eradication, enhancing agricultural productivity, and improving sustainable and increased climate change resilience.

The Soil Recarbonization facility (RECSOIL) constitutes an implementing market-based measure for scaling up SOC-centered sustainable soil management practices within the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). By preventing further SOC losses from carbon-rich soils and, where feasible, increasing SOC stocks, RECSOIL can enhance farmer income through increasing soil productivity, thus contributing to improved food security and nutrition.

RECSOIL will be implemented following an inclusive approach involving multiple stakeholders. Farmers (in collaboration with governments) are identified as the key actors and beneficiaries who will implement RECSOIL on the ground. Various components, such as a global SOC monitoring system, guidelines for measuring, mapping, reporting and monitoring SOC, will work at global, regional and national levels. They will receive technical support for adopting effective identified SOC-centered SSM practices as well as incentives for its operationalization.

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