"Climate change, can soil make a difference?" High Level Conference: extracts from the opening speech by Stavros Dimas
End production: 12/06/2008 First transmission: 12/06/2008
Stavros Dimas, Member of the EC in charge of Environment, opened on 12 June 2008 in Brussels the "Climate Change – can soil make a difference?" conference gathering more than 400 participants, policy-makers, experts and scientists, to discuss the interrelations between soil and climate change and on the possible role of soil management in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Scientists and researchers reported on the latest scientific findings on issues such as the amount of carbon stored in European soils, the evolution of these stocks in the last twenty years, future perspectives on the forecasted increase in global average temperature, and the role that agricultural and forestry practices can play in mitigating negative effects of a rise of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the Council of Ministers, and other key players were invited to participate in a discussion on the policy options that are available for enhancing the role that soils can play as a repository of carbon, and for limiting the loss of organic carbon from soils.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Stavros Dimas, Member of the EC in charge of Environment, and handshake with Luc Gnacadja, Chairman of the Conference and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
||Cutaways (2 shots)
||Stavros Dimas (in ENGLISH) saying that in the EU alone there are more than 70 billion tons of organic carbon in our soils; this is a huge amount if we bear in mind that the EU Member States all together emit approximately 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually; releasing to the atmosphere just a small fraction of that carbon currently stocked in our soils arises the risk of wiping out all the savings that other sectors of the economy are achieving in order to contain green house gas emissions; this is not a theoretical scenario unfortunately; and some of the scientists who will speak at the conference will present data suggesting that large amounts of carbon from soil organic matter have indeed already been lost to the atmosphere in the recent past
||Stavros Dimas (in ENGLISH) saying that the atmosphere of course makes no distinction regarding the origin of carbon dioxide in so far as climate change is concerned; this has to lead us firstly to examine thoroughly if and where soil organic matters decline throughout our territories and then establish approaches to redress the situation and to implement these approaches so that soil not only retains its organic matter but also where possible becomes a sink for more carbon, and therefore contributes to the fight against global warming
||Cutaways (2 shots)
||Stavros Dimas (in ENGLISH) saying that it is therefore more urgent than ever to act in favour of appropriate policies and practices that favour maintaining or even increasing soil organic matter levels; if we manage to do that, and we have to do it now, we have at our disposal a formidable tool for sequestering carbon and supporting the achievement of the targets we have set ourselves to combat climate change; the more organic carbon we keep into the soil, the less carbon dioxide we will have into the atmosphere; this will not only mitigate global warming, it will also diminish the certification risks, thereby sustaining agricultural production and allowing us to keep feeding the ever growing world population
||Cutaways (6 shots)