Agricultural Carbon Economy, Reconstructing Agricultural Production Mode
With the development of the industrial society, the secondary and tertiary industries are booming, but traditional agriculture is increasingly declining. Agricultural production (especially agricultural planting) characterized by agricultural product trading is becoming more and more difficult to make profits, so there are fewer and fewer practitioners in agricultural production. This is concentrated in the fact that on the one hand, the agricultural population is getting smaller and older; on the other hand, new technologies and new products have penetrated into traditional agriculture, making agricultural production costs continue to increase, which directly leads to the compression of agricultural production profit margins. If the current model continues, I am afraid that it will be difficult to support the sustainable development of agricultural production only by relying on the economic value of agriculture.
Perhaps in the near future, the agricultural carbon economy will completely subvert the existing agricultural economic value measurement standards and build a new way of agricultural production income. Under the system of agricultural carbon economy, the value of agricultural production will not only be reflected in the simple trading of agricultural products, but the ecological value of agriculture (especially planting) will also become an important measure, which in turn will become a new target and new target for agricultural trading. income.
What exactly is the agricultural carbon economy?
The origin of the agricultural carbon economy: tackling global climate change
Facts have proved that global climate change and extreme weather phenomena are becoming more and more serious. I believe that the recent events are still fresh in your memory: through observations by the French meteorological agency, it was found that on March 18, 2022, the temperature in the Antarctic was minus 11.5 degrees Celsius, while the temperature in the Antarctic during this period in previous years should be below minus 50 degrees Celsius. This means that the temperature in Antarctica this year is more than 40 degrees higher than in previous years. Coincidentally, the temperature of the Arctic has also appeared in a similar situation. Temperatures in the Arctic were also more than 30 degrees warmer than at the same time in previous years, according to the U.S. Weather Service. Henan and other provinces have experienced unprecedented heavy rains, floods in deserts, more and more severe weather such as typhoons and hail, and more and more frequent forest fires. Such climate change should cause us to pay enough attention.
The earth is our only home at present, and climate change is closely related to all living things on the earth, and its significance has far exceeded the scope of countries and regions. In order to address global climate change and formulate a unified course of action, the Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference on December 12, 2015 and officially implemented on November 4, 2016. The average temperature rise is controlled within 2 degrees Celsius compared with the pre-industrial period, and efforts are made to limit the temperature increase to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
However, the reality is that we are getting closer to the 1.5°C target. According to the latest forecast from The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), unless concerted global action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the global average temperature rise may reach a ceiling of 1.5°C between 2030 and 2050. In March 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that despite growing commitments to climate action, global emissions remain at an all-time high and continue to rise. The latest scientific research shows that climate disruption is already wreaking havoc in every region.
Planting industry: one of the affordable means of negative carbon emissions
In response to global climate change, major economies in the world have set carbon emission reduction targets. China is no exception, with a clear 30/60 dual carbon goal. Therefore, finding a sustainable and affordable new path to carbon neutrality has become an inevitable trend, which will also greatly affect the development trend of various industries in China in the future.
China’s carbon emission in 2020 will be nearly 10 billion tons, ranking first in the world, and the pressure of carbon emission reduction is huge. According to estimates, under the constraints of the carbon peaking target in 2030, my country is expected to increase only 440 million tons of energy-related carbon emissions in the next ten years, and carbon peaking needs to control energy-related carbon emissions at 10.47 billion tons. Considering the industrial process Carbon emissions and forest carbon sinks, the actual peak carbon emissions are expected to be between 10.4 and 11 billion tons. Under the constraints of the 2060 carbon neutrality target, China needs to rapidly reduce energy-related carbon emissions from 10.47 billion tons to 1.67 billion tons between 2030 and 2050, superimposing carbon emissions from industrial processes, and the actual carbon emissions at this time are expected to be 2 billion tons. about. Compared with the realization time of countries that have achieved carbon neutrality, it often takes more than 70 years to achieve carbon neutrality, and the amount of carbon neutrality solved is only about 4 billion tons. It is not difficult to see that the carbon neutrality target proposed by China is shorter in time, and the task is heavier and more difficult.
Even if the industrial production process achieves deep decarbonization after 2050, as long as there are human activities, it will not be able to achieve absolute zero carbon emissions. Negative carbon emission technologies (agriculture and forestry carbon sinks, carbon sequestration technologies) make carbon neutrality possible. With the improvement of technical level, negative carbon technology has begun to exert force, which will help China achieve 1.21 billion tons of negative carbon emissions. Among them, agriculture and forestry carbon sinks will contribute 700 million tons of emission reductions to carbon neutrality in my country. Compared with various technical routes, agriculture and forestry carbon sinks are currently the most economical and effective means of negative carbon emissions.
In addition to agricultural and forestry carbon sinks, some researchers have also proposed negative carbon emission technologies such as CCUS, that is, carbon capture, utilization and storage. However, the biggest challenge facing these carbon-negative technologies is cost. Including the economic cost, but also the “carbon cost”. First of all, under the existing technical conditions, for each ton of carbon dioxide processed, the factory has to increase the operating cost of 140–600 yuan, and the power generation cost per kWh has increased from 0.26 yuan to 0.5 yuan, which is already higher than the current photovoltaic power generation. , the average price of wind power generation. In addition, the underlying logic of the current carbon capture technology is contradictory, that is, the work itself requires specialized equipment and devices, and the manufacture and operation of these devices and devices require additional energy consumption. According to the actual operation of a typical case, to fully capture carbon dioxide, the factory needs to increase the power consumption by 30% to 50% per hour. If new energy sources are not developed, these much-consumed electricity will still depend on burning fossil energy.
The relationship between climate change and traditional agriculture and its impact on traditional agriculture have been systematically expounded by 35 Dou in its industry research report “The Age of Agri-Food Voyages”. On the one hand, in addition to coal-fired thermal power generation and chemical industry (46%, international statistics, the same below), logistics and transportation (18%) are the largest carbon-emitting industries, while traditional agricultural production methods, especially aquaculture (6.5%) are also greenhouses It is one of the main sources of gas, so agricultural carbon reduction is an indispensable link to achieve the dual carbon goals. On the other hand, under the existing technical means, a comprehensive comparison of various technologies, agriculture (especially forestry and planting) is most likely to become an affordable means of negative carbon emissions.
The principle of carbon sink in agriculture and forestry is that plants (such as forests, green algae, and crops) convert sunlight energy into bioenergy through photosynthesis. In this process, plants convert CO2 in water and air into organic matter in the plant itself and release it. O2. This process works normally under natural conditions. This basic principle is also the most basic theoretical support for the agricultural carbon economy.
At present, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is between 300–400ppm, and many crops can survive in higher carbon dioxide, obtain higher yields and improve the taste of agricultural products. For example, the carbon saturation value of tomatoes can reach 1200ppm, so the carbon dioxide concentration can be increased in the enclosed space to achieve a stronger carbon sequestration capacity of crops. A large number of vegetable planting plants with corresponding greenhouse structures have appeared, such as LOW CARBON FARM in the United Kingdom, SUNDROP FARM in Australia, climateworks in Switzerland, and appharvest in the United States, all of which are promoting the construction of this model.
Carbon trading has become a new source of income for farmers
Including agricultural production in the carbon trading market is not far off. In fact, the experience accumulated over the past years in Europe and the United States and other countries can already provide us with reference and reference.
United States: On June 24, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Developing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. The bill aims to lower the threshold for farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners to voluntarily enter the environmental credit market.
European Union: On April 27, 2021, the European Commission published a technical manual on how to establish and implement carbon farming in the EU, aiming to help private entities and government agencies start carbon farming initiatives.
EU: On December 15, 2021, the European Commission adopted the Sustainable Carbon Cycles Treaty, which highlights key current “challenges” and proposes a short- to medium-term course of action to address them . One of the important elements is carbon agriculture.
Originally published at https://www.tlw.com.