Atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) contributes to climate change, which disproportionately affects poor and marginalized populations. Rural communities have long been economically disadvantaged relative to urban and industrial centers. A soil carbon market addresses both CO2 and rural economic opportunity. U.S. agricultural lands have the potential to store about one billion tons of CO2, which represents an enormous, low-cost opportunity. Over the past 2 years, more than 120 stakeholders have been engaged to develop a nature-based, market solution that uses novel approaches for soil-carbon measurement along with enhanced land management practices and economic analysis to promote storing CO2 as organic matter in soils of prairies, farms, ranches and grasslands. This provides economic benefit to both landowners and emitters (such as energy, petrochemicals, manufacturing and transportation industries), as well as a basis for an expanded rural economy. It also benefits water supply, contributes to flood resilience, and restores local ecosystems.
Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policywebsite: https://www.bakerinstitute.org/
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