Come, Carbon Farms

If farming, in the simplest of its meanings, stands for growing and harvesting, can carbon, a chemical element be farmed? Of course not! But the world stands up for it, promotes it and sets apart very huge funds for it. 

Why this farming with a difference? Year after year the world in which we live, yes our only abode in the universe, is getting hotter and hotter. (Not just quoting news paper headlines or why to quote a headline when we feel the heat on our skin). Even without knowing all implications of this situation and still less concerned about the root cause of ‘hot flashes’ we summarize everything into some gases that make atmosphere similar to the condition inside a green house where a higher temperature level is artificially created for the ideal growth of plants. If greenhouse situation ensures optimum production from plants, the same could mean only optimum destruction of all living forms on the earth’s surface including the most intelligent of all species, we ourselves. 

In the past 20 years, more people are getting concerned about the human atrocities which are meddling for the worst with the climactic cycles. Scientists believe that the climate changes are caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases that cause the Earth’s atmosphere to reflect and trap more heat. Of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the largest in both emissions and concentration. Many scientists are predicting worser climate changes if greenhouse gases continue to be emitted in the current levels. Hence the all on a sudden attention on a new form of farming-carbon farming which refers to a variety of agricultural practices aimed at sequestering atmospheric carbon into soil. 

Okay, lets come back from the science of global warming to the ground level possibilities. The Carbon Farming project was launched in 2019 to define the changes needed at the farm and landscape level in order to sequestrate more carbon in agricultural soils. Who takes emissions to alarming levels? Culprits galore, including the first and the foremost human activity on this planet-agriculture. 

But there stands a difference of range among all agents of emission in curtailing it. That’s the cue. Agriculture stands in a vantage position in comparison mammoth power plants in curtailing emissions.  

This possibility opens up before farmers and ranchers a brand new opportunity of hitting the jackpot by making the great perpetrators of heat in the atmosphere to compensate for their mistakes. In other words farm level attempts at sequestrating carbon will bestow farmers with carbon credits that could be traded with industries and the similar sort for money. Thus comes into existence a different market-the carbon market. 

As for all markets, carbon markets require buyers and sellers. The largest buyers of carbon offsets are likely to be the largest emitters, such power plants, transportation companies and industrial sector as a whole. Potential sellers come from various fronts such as agricultural farms and ranches, wind farms, and hydroelectric plants, among others.

Farmers and ranchers can participate in this process by either reducing emissions or by capturing and storing emissions. To reduce emissions, producers could decrease fertilization, alter manure management, reduce fuel consumption, switch to alternative fuels such as from coal to natural gas or bioenergy etc. Agriculturists can also capture and store emissions in a process called sequestration. One type of sequestration is biological sequestration, which uses the characteristics of plants to capture emissions. 

India is the biggest beneficiary of carbon trading and it is expected that over a period of time India will gain Rs 22,500 crore to Rs 45,000 crore from carbon sequestration alone.
India’s carbon market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and has already generated approximately 30 million carbon credits, the second highest transacted volume in the world. The carbon trading market in India is growing faster than even information technology, bio technology and BPO sectors. Nearly 850 projects with an investment of Rs 650,000 million are in the pipeline. Carbon is also now being traded on India’s Multi Commodity Exchange. It is the first exchange in Asia to trade carbon credits.

Come fellow farmers, a great opportunity stands waiting for you in the form of carbon. Its farming with a difference. You continue to farm, but with less focus on some age old practices. It demands of you some simple steps to make our earth contain carbon without letting that loose into the air. What a great idea Sabji. 

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