#3 | Soil: carbon sink and saviour?

#3 | Soil: carbon sink and saviour?

Contents: introduction, guest appearances, further reading, transcript, sources, credits

"We can sequester with regenerative agriculture between 5% of all emissions and 100% of all emissions. That's a big difference"

Whenever we used to find ourselves around farmland, we never paid much attention to the soil beneath our feet. Making this episode will make us think twice next time...

Why? Because, when you dig a little deeper, soil is far more important for carbon storage than you might have imagined. The world's soils hold more carbon than the atmosphere and the world's forests combined - but what potential do they hold for helping our carbon removal cause?

In this episode, we delve into the silent crisis of our soils, and discover the regenerative agriculture movement ready to address it, with a mix of ancient wisdom and novel technologies.

This episode's guests

Many thanks to our excellent guests in this episode:

  • Aldyen Donnelly, co-founder and Director of Carbon Economics at Nori
  • Ben Flock, Head of Transition Finance at Climate Farmers


Want to delve deeper now you've listened to the show? Look no further than the list below of articles, podcasts and other resources. They helped us to learn more about the degeneration and regeneration of soil, and we think you might like them too...

Our Reading List & Sources

NamePublisherPublishing/Release DateSourceSummaryTag(s)Type
Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction
MIT Technology Review
July 8, 2021
CriticismCorporate pledges
Five rules for evidence communication
November 19, 2020
A comment article in Nature, offering quick tips and experience from evidence communication. In short: inform, not persuade; offer balance, not false balance; disclose uncertainties; state evidence quality and inoculate against misinformation (i.e. "prebunking" - address concerns or potential misunderstandings directly).
Evidence communication
Nan Ransohoff and Ryan Orbuch, Stripe Climate Team
My Climate Journey
September 4, 2020
A conversation with two key members of Stripe's climate team, who are responsible for the company's negative emissions commitment made in 2019.
Corporate pledgesPolicyOffsetsEconomics
Carbon Capture Projects Map
Third Way
July 18, 2018
Map of all active (operational, planned etc) carbon capture projects in the world. Good overview of what's going on where. Correct as of mid-2018.
A Matter of Degrees: Cleaning up the carbon mess
A Matter of Degrees
November 19, 2020
An exploration of different ways that we can remove carbon from the atmosphere. A great place to start on your carbon removal journey.
Carbon Removal Mechanisms
Carbon Plan
July 24, 2020
This article provides a very useful introduction to the carbon cycle, and how the carbon removal mechanisms discussed in the series interact with it. In particular, the distinction between avoided emissions and negative emissions is worth paying attention to.
Carbon cycleOverview
Removing CO2 from the atmosphere won't save us
The Conversation
December 7, 2015
An article from two climate scientists, explaining why we must prioritise emission reductions over carbon removals. Published during the Paris climate conference in 2015.
CriticismScaling up
Carbon removal academy (free course)
John Sanchez
November 30, 2020
Academy with articles, videos and other useful resources split into different chapters. The Carbon Removal Academy is a useful course for getting up to speed with all things carbon removal.
From tree planting to CO2-sucking machines: How could ‘negative emissions’ help to tackle the climate crisis?
The Independent
February 10, 2021
A good overview of negative emissions in general, including the challenges faced by each NET
Without carbon capture, the world can't meet its climate targets
January 10, 2021
We need to take CO2 out of the sky
Ryan Orbuch
February 22, 2020
A carbon removal 101, written by a non-specialist after a few months of learning. Useful for understanding different measurements of CO2, and for accessing his own reading list for "negative emissions"
OverviewMeasuring CO2
Carbon Removal Glossary
Foresight Transitions
March 1, 2021
This spreadsheet provides definitions for well over 100 phrases associated with carbon removal.
Public perceptions of carbon dioxide removal in the United States and the United Kingdom
July 1, 2020
A study of public perceptions of CDR in the UK and US - lots of interesting findings to dig into, including outlining some of the objections that the public may raise to the use of CDR.
Public perceptions
Academic Journal
Intro to 10 'negative emission' technologies
Carbon Brief
April 11, 2016
A whistle-stop tour of 10 major techniques to remove GHGs from atmosphere, along with a helpful diagram and set of explanations.
Carbon Dioxide Removal Primer
Various authors
January 1, 2021
A summary of all things carbon dioxide removal related, written by several experts in the field. An invaluable resource, available as a book or freely available online.
Negative Emissions source materials
May 1, 2020
A link to applications completed by different CDR projects for support as part of Stripe's negative emissions commitment
Corporate pledgesOverview
The Earth's Carbon Cycle: animated diagram
Robert Rohde
May 22, 2019
Really nice video of the cabron cycle and how it has changed since pre-industrial era
Carbon cycle
Greenhouse gases must be scrubbed from the air
The Economist
November 16, 2017
An early introduction to the need for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, for hard-to-abate sectors. Uses the example of Sweden's decarbonisation pledge.
Carbon removal permanence calculator
Carbon Plan
December 9, 2020
This calculator estimates the upfront costs needed to make a temporary carbon removal strategy permanent over time, and allows comparisons with more permanent techniques.
Carbon cyclePermanenceEconomics
We need to talk about carbon removal
October 1, 2018
The positive allure of negative emissions
August 9, 2019

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The Carbon Removal Show is a Restored.cc and Cofruition production. We are sponsored by Patch. Here's who made this episode happen:

  • Emily Swaddle & Tom Previte - co-hosts
  • Ben Weaver-Hincks - producer
  • Henry Irvine - researcher
  • Sam Floy & Patrick Carter - project managers
  • Mercy Barno - editor
  • Sam Carter - music producer

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