Organic farming combats global warming … big time

January 10, 2008

Data from The Rodale Institute’s long-running comparison of organic and conventional cropping systems confirms that organic methods are far more effective at removing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere and fixing it as beneficial organic matter in the soil. Check it out…

Organic vs. CO2 Fast Facts:

-If only 10,000 medium sized farms in the U.S. converted to organic production, they would store so much carbon in the soil that it would be equivalent to taking 1,174,400 cars off the road, or reducing car miles driven by 14.62 billion miles.

-Converting the U.S.’s 160 million corn and soybean acres to organic production would sequester enough carbon to satisfy 73 percent of the Kyoto targets for CO2 reduction in the U.S.

-U.S. agriculture as currently practiced emits a total of 1.5 trillion pounds of CO2 annually into the atmosphere. Converting all U.S. cropland to organic would not only wipe out agriculture’s massive emission problem. By eliminating energy-costly chemical fertilizers, it would actually give us a net increase in soil carbon of 734 billion pounds.

Organic farming -vs- the Kyoto targets

In 1997 the U.S. agreed to reduce 1990 levels of CO2 by seven percent. So here’s a question: How far would converting U.S. cropland to organic take us toward satisfying those Kyoto goals? Let’s do the math:

-Converting 160 million acres of cornand soyean to organic results in 293 million tons of CO2 stored in soil

-Kyoto target: 400 million ton reduction in CO2.

-Percentage of Kyoto goal that would be satisfied by converting to organic: 73 PERCENT!

NOTE: This doesn’t even take into consideration the drastically reduced energy expenditure and CO2 emissions of organic farming compared with using chemical fertilizers.

Read the entire article at:


5 Responses to “Organic farming combats global warming … big time”

  1. […] wonder of soil organic matter, and the power of organic ag to sequester it. Read about it here. It’s fairly staggering. Increasing it in our soils is a […]

  2. organicassistant Says:

    We have an organic website and we are pleased to post this article on our website for all to see under News.

  3. hi and thanks for an interesting story that sheds a new light on organic farming. This information could be very useful in making our environment a better place.

  4. […] Last week Tim LaSalle, the new CEO at Rodale spoke at our Midwest Organic Production and Marketing Conference. He spoke about the research done at Rodale looking at the potential for organic farming to sequester carbon in the form of soil organic matter. It was a good talk, but short on actual numbers. […]

  5. Chris Says:

    One problem I see with this article is that the US never signed the Koyoto Protocols. The article states “In 1997 the U.S. agreed to reduce 1990 levels of CO2 by seven percent” … I only wish that was true – that commitment was never made though.

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