What does carbon negative mean?

carbon negative

What does Carbon Negative mean?

Carbon negative is a term used to describe activities, technologies and processes that go beyond the mere reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by actually removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can be done through a variety of methods such as planting trees, improving land management practices and capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in long-term storage. This can also be done by producing biochar and putting it back into agricultural soil—fostering a totally new paradigm in agricultural best practices. As such, with biochar, the capturing and storing of carbon promotes optimal and effective soil management best practices. The preservation of soil health promotes fewer invasive inputs such as fertilizer and water. This remains one of the primary and most effective ways to transition towards carbon-negative farming.

Carbon negative means that, not only are we countering the effects of climate change, but also reversing them. While there is no single solution to this issue, carbon-negative activities can help to reduce (and eventually eliminate) greenhouse gas emissions from our planet. To transition towards being carbon-negative, agricultural organisations and the farming sector—together with industrial organisations and entire countries and continents at large—must implement a comprehensive approach to help with the reduction of carbon emissions. This might include converting to renewable energy sources like wind or solar power, thereby striving towards improved energy efficiency. This would most definitely also implies the conversion to (and implementation of ) sustainable agricultural best practices. Other well-known interventions include, for example, the reforestation of forests and other strategies that have proven to work in reducing humanity’s overall carbon footprint on planet Earth.

How is being carbon negative different to being carbon neutral?

Carbon negative is different from carbon neutral in that it goes beyond just offsetting the carbon emissions of a certain activity or product. Carbon-negative activities are designed to actually reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, rather than just balancing out emissions already produced—leading to a net reduction in total atmospheric concentrations.

How can the agricultural industry and farmers reach carbon-negative goals?

The agricultural sector, the farming community, companies and individuals can reach carbon-negative goals through a variety of strategies. At Carbon Negative Industries, we believe one way is to employ the use of biochar. Essentially, this implies the investment in carbon-offset projects such as conversion to farming best practices that put biochar back into agricultural soil. Modern farming methods and best practices would also be looking to invest in renewable energy sources such as energy from biochar production.

Why the agricultural industry and farmers would be wise to transition towards carbon negative best-practices

As already stated, carbon-negative best practices reduce and reverse the effects of climate change. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, so reducing its emissions remains key. Carbon-negative solutions involve activities like reforestation, which can absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. Other strategies include capturing and storing carbon through effective agricultural soil management, biochar production, and other land-use changes.

Carbon-negative technologies such as carbon capture and storage also have a role to play in reducing emissions while creating jobs and new sources of income for communities affected by climate change. When implementing these strategies on a large scale, both the agricultural sector at large, as well as individual farmers stand to make a real and lasting difference in the reduction of carbon emissions­—and in so doing, contributing towards a necessary transition to carbon negative best-practices that promises to herald the long-awaited new era of sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture in South Africa and Africa.

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