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Climate Change – can soil make a difference?

On 12th June 2008, the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission hosted a high-level conference on the interrelations between soil and climate change and on the possible role of soil management in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The conference was chaired by Mr Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and was opened by Mr Stavros Dimas, Member of the European Commission responsible for the environment. It involved the participation of leading scientists and researchers who 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 participated in a roundtable 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.

The final programme can be downloaded by clicking here.

The following speeches and presentations are available:



Introduction by the Chair Mr Luc Gnacadja

Key note address

Mr Stavros Dimas

The projected effects of climate change in Europe

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

The role of soil organic matter in the global carbon cycle

Professor Rattan Lal

UK losses of soil carbon - due to climate change?

Mrs Pat H. Bellamy

Emissions from peat soils

Dr Jari Liski

Changes in soil organic matter in relation with land use and agricultural practices

Dr Dominique Arrouays

Emissions due to land use changes in Brazil

Professor Carlos C. Cerri

The role of agricultural practices in keeping or increasing soil organic matter

Professor Peter Smith

Evaluation of the potential of selected measures to reduce carbon emissions and sequester carbon in European soils

Dr Annette Freibauer

Final remarks

Mr Jos Delbeke

The full report on the conference (in English), containing a summary with the main findings and the outcome of the panel discussion, can be downloaded by clicking here.

The Executive Summary of the report is available in all the official languages:

български cs es da de et el en fr it lv lt hu mt nl pl pt română sk sl fi sv (pdf ~20K)