ICAO/FAO Initiative Links Soil Management to Reduced Emissions in the Aviation Sector
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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According to FAO estimates, agricultural and degraded soils have the potential to sequester more than 60 times the emissions generated by the aviation sector in 2018.

The proposed Recarbonization of Global Soils Facility aims to curb aviation sector CO2 emissions by supporting farming practices that boost soil organic carbon for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The facility also aims to contribute to the growth of Corporate Social Responsibility in the aviation sector.

10 July 2019: Despite technological and operational improvements planned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the international aviation sector, which contributes to 1.3% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, is not on track to meet its emissions reduction targets. The proposed Recarbonization of Global Soils (RECSOIL) Facility aims to curb aviation sector CO2 emissions by supporting farming practices that boost soil organic carbon (SOC) for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

According to analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), agricultural and degraded soils have the potential to sequester more than 60 times the emissions generated by the aviation sector in 2018. With an estimated 33% of global soils characterized as degraded, “recarbonization” offers a solution for offsetting the projected rise of emissions in the international aviation industry, thus contributing to achievement of multiple SDG targets, including enhanced agricultural productivity and income for farmers (SDG target 2.3), food security and nutrition (SDG 2), and climate change resilience (SDG target 13.1).

RECSOIL will provide incentives and technical training to encourage farmers to adopt effective soil organic carbon-centered practices.

Presenting the rationale as well as operationalization modalities for the mechanism, the FAO publication titled, ‘Recarbonization of Global Soils: A Dynamic Response to Offset Global Emissions,’ explains that the aim is to scale up SOC-centered practices, while fostering other co-benefits of sustainable soil management. In particular, RECSOIL will seek to prevent further SOC losses from carbon-rich soils such as peatlands, black soils and permafrost and, where feasible, for example in agricultural and degraded soils, to increase SOC stocks. The facility also aims to contribute to the growth of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the aviation sector.

RECSOIL will support activities at two broad levels. At the global level, the Facility will support the development of a SOC monitoring system linking national, regional and global reporting, including on progress in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC. On the ground, the facility will provide incentives and technical training to encourage farmers to adopt effective SOC-centered practices.

The proposed RECSOIL facility is coordinated by the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) as part of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). [Publication: Recarbonization of Global Soils: A Dynamic Response to Offset Global Emissions] [FAO News Release]

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