France Backs Soil Carbon Plan Ahead of Climate Summit: Le Foll

France supports combining food security and carbon sequestration in soils as part of a global agreement to fight climate warming later this year, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said in an interview.

Linking cuts in greenhouse gases to fertilizing soils is important for developing countries, particularly in Africa, who don’t want to be prevented from producing more food for the sake of climate considerations, Le Foll said. Limits on food and farm production “for them would be a difficult element” to accept in any agreement, he said.

Adapting farming practices to boost organic matter in agricultural soils by 0.4% a year would compensate for global greenhouse gas emissions, according to France’s National Institute for Agronomical Research. Lifting soil fertility contributes to fighting hunger, Le Foll said.

“We could stock the equivalent of the anthropogenic carbon gas produced by humanity today,” Le Foll said. “Storing carbon in the soil is organic matter in the soil, organic matter is fertilizing the soil.”

The program is backed by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization and has the support of the U.S., Le Foll said.

The UN on Friday published an 88-page draft agreement on a climate deal, which would take effect in 2020 and calls on countries to cap the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

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