Carbon Sequestration in Austria's Arable and Grassland Soils

Importance and Economic Effects of Selected Measures

According to calculations with global climate models, the Paris climate targets can only be achieved with negative emissions, i.e., by removing part of the emitted CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it. Measures for soil carbon sequestration (SCS) by building up humus in arable land and grassland are part of the international carbon agenda, e.g. under the "4-per-mille" initiative. They simultaneously contribute to climate change adaptation and food security, and thus have important co-benefits. This paper specifies a "4-per-mille" scenario for Austria and estimates the microeconomic and macroeconomic effects of selected SCS measures. The microeconomic costs range from 0 € per ha and year in field fodder production to 450 € per ha and year in non-use of peat soils as arable land. The macroeconomic effects are slightly positive and amount to 100 million € p.a. SCS measures usually impose additional costs on individual farmers, while the benefits and co-benefits with the measures are often of non-monetary type. Therefore, the conversion to climate-friendly and resilient agriculture should be accompanied by agricultural policy programmes and financial incentives, as they are known from the Austrian Agri-environmental Programme (ÖPUL).