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  • Alexander Bencore

Grist: U.S. Is About to Go All-In on Paying Farmers and Foresters to Trap Carbon

From Grist:

"It was through [a] side gig that {farmer Kelly] Garrett first seriously considered carbon capture. He figured he could tweak his agricultural techniques to suck planet-warming carbon out of the atmosphere and get paid by corporations looking to “offset” their carbon emissions. Big businesses often find it cheaper to pay somebody like Garrett to trap more carbon than it is for them to change their ways. ... Nori, the carbon-market broker Garrett began working with last year, allows farmers to make money for carbon-sequestering practices, like avoiding the plow, they started anytime after 2010. That’s good news for Garrett, who hasn’t plowed or otherwise tilled his fields since 2012. He had already sowed many of his fields with cover crops — not for harvest but to improve soil health and capture carbon dioxide through photosynthesis — and he expanded his use of them. Since signing up with Nori, Garrett has raked in nearly $150,000 for capturing carbon in his soil... READ THE ARTICLE AT GRIST WHY IS THIS ARTICLE HERE?

While the GRIST article concludes that the carbon markets might not be providing actual net environmental results yet, Hemp, the fabulously useful cousin of MJ, has real data showing it's one of the best crops available for carbon sequestration:

"Hemp’s potential as a carbon sequestration crop, as well as its phytoremediation properties and its benefits in the creation of environmentally responsible industrial and consumer products, is already well-documented. In a 2019 presentation for a European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) conference, Catherine Wilson, EIHA Vice President and Managing Director of the UK-based hemp company CannaWell, outlined hemp’s environmental benefits. The production of hemp is carbon negative,” she said, “which means it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere during its growth than is emitted by the equipment used to harvest, process, and transport it.” Wilson also noted that one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of industrial hemp reportedly has the potential to sequester 10.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide per hectare annually, returning that carbon to the soil." To put some real numbers to hemp's potential:

"Hemp can capture atmospheric carbon twice as effectively as forests while providing carbon-negative biomaterials for architects and designers, according to Cambridge University researcher Darshil Shah. "Numerous studies estimate that hemp is one of the best CO2-to-biomass converters," said Shah, who is senior researcher at the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge. "It's even more effective than trees," he said. "Industrial hemp absorbs between 8 to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare of cultivation." "In comparison, forests typically capture 2 to 6 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year depending on the number of years of growth, the climatic region, the type of trees etc." PHOTO SOURCE: Unsplash

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