If you believe that the world is going to end if temperatures increase by 1.5 Celsius and the only way to stop this is by cutting back on carbon emissions then I have very good news for you.
There is a simple solution, known as regenerative agriculture, that in the case of South Africa can sequester not only 2.83x our annual CO2 emissions but it will create employment in our country that has the second highest official unemployment rate in the world and most importantly will produce nutrient dense food as at the heart of the human malaise, in my view, is malnutrition.
The increase in CO2 is a problem but then so is LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY, methane, atrazine, bromine, fluorine, phthalates, PCBs, Glyphosate (RoundUp), cobalt, deep sea mining, plastic in the oceans, plummeting human sperm and egg counts and the biggest polluter of all; war. None of them get the attention or fear porn that CO2 does.
I have used our latest audited carbon credit report from our farm to do a few simple calculations.
On our farm, since 2011, we have sequestered (it means pulling carbon into the soil) 154 tons of CO2e per hectare (HA) into the soil on 153.8 of the hectares on our Spier Wine Farm. That is 12.83 tons per year. You can click here 23017 – Spier Mob Grazing and Rewilding audit 2023 to download our latest audit report. The carbon credits, as per the last 3 times we have sold them, are sold on the Credible Carbon Registry. Half of the net income goes to our staff. 3 of whom are white, 38 of whom are black and 10 of whom are women.
South Africa is the 14th highest global emitter of CO2 with 435 million tons emitted in 2021 which is the last year for which there is global data as per this source. South Africa has 96,34 million hectares of farm land. If all of these were managed regeneratively (Allow me a short digression here into the possible versus probable. Back in June of 2021 I wrote this blog on “How South Africa can be fed regeneratively” as a response to all our farm visitors over the years who all say that whilst what we do is inspiring we are going to be unable to feed the world. We can feed South Africa regeneratively but we won’t because in the words of my late father-in-law, “politics trumps everything” and politicians are incapable of thinking regeneratively. Ditto every country in the world) then using our farm’s 12.83 tons of CO2e per HA we sequester 1,232 billion tons of CO2e. Divided by 435 million is 2.83 which is the number in the second paragraph.
To those who say that our farm is not a representative picture of South Africa I will say this; There are many areas that are more fertile than our farm which have much bigger carbon sequestration potential than we do and even the less fertile areas are so degraded that by changing management of the land the upside potential is huge.
If the 12.83 tons per HA is not achievable, then in order for South Africa to be net zero, all that our farmers across the land need to do is sequester 4,51 tons per HA. (435m tons divided by 96.34m HA).
Let’s do the same exercise for the USA. I have never farmed in the USA but I did spend two weeks last summer driving thousands of miles in rural Tennessee and Alabama visiting the spattering of regenerative farms across that fertile land. The USA is the world’s second biggest emitter with 4.752 billion tons of CO2e. Their farmland is 361.54m hectares which means that in order for them to be net zero using only the regenerative agriculture tool they would need to sequester 13,14 tons per HA. Not far above our 12.83 tons…
Imagine the powers that be that are, on a global scale, trying to fear monger us into a change that will impoverish all except the very rich, devoted that energy and creativity to get behind the gift that is regenerative agriculture.
Healthier soil equals healthier plants equals healthier animals equals healthier humans equals healthier society.
22 June 2023.