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Carbon Farming Scheme

We have been asked to return to the idea of “farmers as soldiers” presented in the March article “Carbon farming priority issue for the EU”

We have been asked to outline the European political proposal beyond the positions of the French Minister and the Commissioner for Agriculture. As we mentioned, in December 2021 European Commission presented “Sustainable Carbon Cycles” in the form of a Communication to the Parliament and Council (which is informative not deliberative in character), which includes the design principles in support of a carbon farming scheme.

The document illustrates the necessity of absorbing, recycling and storing carbon sustainably. One of the proposals is for a Carbon Farming Scheme (CFS), that is, a mechanism for paying farmers who take steps to “sequester” carbon in farmland while protecting their biodiversity.

Some attentive readers have alerted us to an analysis of this communication – produced by IDDRI, I4CE and IFOAM. These organisations identify the conditions for turning this specific measure into reality. They indicate the key design principles for a “CFS” that would simultaneously support climate mitigation and the other objectives set by the Farm2Fork and Biodiversity strategies. However, they recommend using the following criteria: “an absolute reduction in all GHG emissions; enhance carbon sequestration in soils and agroecological infra-structures; foster the diversification of agroecosystems from plot to landscapes; and reduce the overall dependency of farming systems to external and synthetic inputs.”

Furthermore, “funds dedicated to a CFS should primarily be directed to support systemic and sustainable transitions of farming systems on the basis of a clear and multidimensional evaluation/certification framework. In that respect, this framework should be deployed in a “taxonomic” way, i.e. to help public and private investors to identify the right projects to support.