Twenty-three years of ongoing research at The Rodale Institute Experimental Farm already provides strong evidence that organic farming helps combat global warming by capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide and incorporating it into the soil, whereas conventional farming exacerbates the greenhouse effect by producing a net release of carbon into the atmosphere. The key lies in the handling of organic matter (OM): because soil organic matter is primarily carbon, increases in soil OM levels will be directly correlated with carbon sequestration. While conventional farming typically depletes soil OM, organic farming builds it through the use of composted animal manures and cover crops. Thinking globally, the British Royal Society has estimated potential CO2 sequestration on the world’s 2.5 billion acres of agricultural soils at 6.1 to 10.1 billion U.S. tons per year for the next 50 years. Another estimate puts the total amount of CO2 that could be captured in developing countries at 1.7 billion U.S. tons over the next decade. In short, carbon sequestration via adoption of organic agriculture could have a substantial impact on global warming.
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