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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Climate change: EC dishes the dirt on the importance of soil

A new report made public by the Commission underlines the crucial role that soils can play in mitigating climate change. Soils contain around twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and three times the amount to be found in vegetation. Europe's soils are an enormous carbon reservoir, containing around 75 billion tonnes, and poor management can have serious consequences: a failure to protect Europe's remaining peat bogs, for example, would release the same amount of carbon as an additional 40 million cars on Europe's roads. The report, a synthesis of the best available information on the links between soil and climate change, underlines the need to sequester carbon in soils. The technique is cost competitive and immediately available, requires no new or unproven technologies, and has a mitigation potential comparable to that of any other sector of the economy. In line with the Thematic Strategy for soil protection, the current trend of soil degradation needs to be reversed, and soil management practices must be improved if a high rate of soil carbon sequestration is to be achieved.
Source: European Commission