Soil & Climate Policy
International, National, or State Level – In Effect or Recently Introduced
- “4 per 1000” This initiative, officially launched in November 2016 at COP-22 in Marrakech by the French Ministry of Agriculture, calls on nations to increase the carbon content in the top 40 cm of their soils by 0.4% per year (thus, “4 per 1000”). This equates to annually removing from the atmosphere approximately 3.5 gigatons of carbon — as mentioned above — an amount soil scientists believe to be feasible. The initiative has been signed on to by thirty-two nations, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as dozens of agricultural and civil society agencies.
- Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change This suite of actions — put forth by the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organization of 52 member states and officially launched by the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland at COP-22 — seeks to put into practice methodologies such as permaculture, biomimicry, and ecological economics, and provides funds through the Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub.
U.S. / National
- Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science Developed in the United States by the National Science and Technology Council’s Soil Science Interagency Working Group and released in December 2016, the Framework identifies “climate and environmental change” as one of three overarching “Challenge and Opportunity” categories, and recognizes the need for “terrestrial carbon sequestration” in soils and forests.
U.S. / States
- California – Healthy Soils Initiative. – “California’s Healthy Soils Initiative is a collaboration of state agencies and departments, led by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), to promote the development of healthy soils on California’s farm and ranchlands. Innovative farm and ranch management practices contribute to building adequate soil organic matter that can increase carbon sequestration and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.”
- Oklahoma – Carbon Sequestration Enhancement Act – “Oklahoma is the first state in the U.S. to give a state agency statutory authority to verify and certify carbon offsets….The Oklahoma Conservation Commission is authorized under Oklahoma Administrative Code Title 155 to implement 27A O.S. § 3-4-101 thru 3-4-105, which authorizes the Commission to establish and administer a carbon sequestration certification program. ..The Oklahoma carbon program pairs natural resource protection with sectors that form the economic backbone of the state: agriculture, forestry, and oil and gas…”
- Utah – Concurrent Restoration on Carbon Sequestration on Rangeland, (H.C.R. 8) “This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor calls on the President of the United States to direct federal agencies that implement management practices that increase soil carbon sequestration to develop comprehensive plans that achieve the maximum amount of carbon sequestration possible and increase the economic and environmental productivity of rangelands and urges similar action within each state.”
- Vermont – Regenerative Soils Program – Legislation (S.43) in the state of Vermont “proposes to require the Secretary of Natural Resources to establish a regenerative soils program whose purposes include increasing the carbon sequestration capability of Vermont soils, reducing the amount of sediment and waste entering the waters of the State, and promoting cost-effective and healthy soil management practices.”