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Simulating Regenerative Agriculture in En-ROADS

 I led a demonstration of En-ROADS and a participant stated 'This program does not handle the solution I am interested in, Regenerative Agriculture.  I mentioned that En-ROADS allows us in a backdoor by using a combination of Other gases, Afforestation and Deforestation, and Carbon capture.  This was a long way around what the participant wanted which was to see a slider with BAU and highly incentivized Regenerative Ag and highly discouraged.


Anyone have a better answer to ways of demonstrating a common 'solution' for Climate Change mitigation.  She mentioned Lal Rattan's figures for carbon sequestration for instance.


Thank you




Regenerative agriculture is an exciting possibility and there is a growing list of advocates, from all walks of life.


At CI, we've done some work to try to understand the latest science and reports on nature based solutions and regenerative agriculture.  A good place to start is our blog post here:

https://www.climateinteractive.org/blog/how-to-talk-about-food-in-en-roads/


There is a problem that I've seen about "regenerative agriculture" -- it is a broad term that includes many different things.  This makes it hard to grapple with because advocates sometimes don't always use the terms the same.  Also, a broad term makes it harder to analyze rigorously because it can include many different policy combinations.


The above blog post is a good reference for how to use the existing En-ROADS to understand the food system and some regenerative ag policies.


But CI is also actively working on integrating ag and food system policies into a future version of En-ROADS. We'll be expanding the link between food demand and land-use change.  This means there will be stronger link between ag and forestry.  Also, we're going to be including agroforestry, diets, and other levers to understand some of the possible ag and food system policies.


As I told a recent webinar attendee:  we'd love to hear from you about what policies you would like to be able to represent in En-ROADS, and even what you mean by regenerative agriculture!


I'm also very interested in having the advantages of soil carbon sequestration better integrated into the EN-ROADS tool. Though no expert, I've done a certain amount of reading on the topic and wanted to share a number of recent peer-reviewed articles on the subject of defining and measuring the value of regenerative agriculture for providing negative emissions. It offers not only one of the least expensive ways of achieving significant reduction of atmospheric carbon (vs. e.g., BECCS -- bioenergy with carbon capture & Storage), but also has rich multisolving potential by improving soil health and water quality; increasing crop yields without chemical inputs from petroleum byproducts and increased nitrous oxide emissions; and supporting  crop resilience in the face of increased flooding and droughts.


While its  contribution reaches a point of saturation when the approximately 50% decline in soil organic matter caused by bad farming techniques has been remediated, it has tremendous potential for effective sequestration in the near- to- mid-term. That gives time for other types of  sequestration such as afforestation ramp up and for advances in technologies like direct air removal and enhanced weathering to occur.


I'm attaching a file with some recent articles on the issue of quantifying what soil carbon sequestration can offer. I also included some of the solutions identified in Project Drawdown that are part of a natural carbon sequestration approach. The references should lead you to researchers whose help might make the job of integrating soil carbon sequestration into EN-ROADS less burdensome.


Thanks for this fabulous tool and the deeply important lessons it imparts. I'm not sure my file uploaded properly and will be happy to try another way of getting it to you if necessary.

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Thank you for the article. 


I agree - there are definitely reasons to adopt regenerative agricultural practices even with some uncertainties with respect to carbon removal.  Less chemicals, cleaner water, better drought resilience and reduced flooding (all you mentioned) are great reasons to change farming methods. And, if the science bares out like initial studies show about carbon, then carbon is just *another* reason to do it.


When I've talked with farmers about change their practices, it is often faced with skepticism and/or they're interest but roadblocked. No markets, wrong equipment, etc.  


Anyone have ideas about how to increase the adoption rate?  Solutions don't matter unless they are used at scale.


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