Julie Loisel, John P. Casellas Connors, Gustaf Hugelius, Jennifer W. Harden, Christine L. Morgan (2019). “Soils can help mitigate CO2 emissions, despite the challenges.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2019, 201900444. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900444116
Abstract: In their opinion piece, Amundson and Biardeau (1) argue that “values system opposition” between farmers and scientists complicates the use of soils as long-term carbon stores. They imply that storing carbon in agricultural soils is an unrealistic climate mitigation strategy. We agree that implementing restorative soil management practices across the world’s >500 million active farms is a formidable challenge. But we fear that the authors are overly dismissive of the broader motivations for, and benefits of, building carbon in our soils. Furthermore, we assert that current agricultural practices are contingent upon, and will be shaped by, transitions in the global energy systems. Therefore, continued soil-restoration efforts may not only contribute to climate mitigation, but may also play a role in supporting energy transitions as well as climate adaptation.