To address both the need for more finance for agriculture and the climate crisis, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), among others, are promoting selling of carbon offset credits based on the carbon that can be stored in soil.
This report critically examines the basic assumptions of the World Bank about soil carbon markets and explores alternative approaches to the problems of climate change, emphasising the need to support smallholder farmers who are the most vulnerable.
Introduction: Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Markets
- There is no soil carbon market
- Voluntary soil carbon credits will not provide significant or secure finance
- If there are revenues from the market, they will not reach smallholder farmers
- Investing resources in establishing a soil carbon market diverts attention from the central question of how to generate public finance that can be used in part to address food security threats posed by climate change
- Smallholder farmers should not be asked to bear the mitigation burden of developed countries and their citizens
- A soil carbon market is a distraction used by developed countries to evade their obligations to deliver on climate finance