Stéphane Le Foll, Founder and vice-president of the 4 per 1000 initiative, former French Minister of Agriculture (2012-2017), Mayor of Le Mans and President of Le Mans Metropolis
Why do we talk of “4 per 1000”?
I launched the “4 per 1000” project in March 2015, based on an INRA study. It’s a fantastic message of what agriculture can do under certain production conditions to mitigate the amount of gas contained in the atmosphere.
What stage has the initiative now reached?
Launched nearly four years ago on a multi-stakeholder basis, the 4 per 1000 initiative has two major dimensions: an action program involving multiple state and non-state actors for better soil carbon management and an international research and scientific cooperation program. It is now supported by over 250 organizations (governments, research institutes, NGOs, universities, foundations, companies, etc.) and counts 80 signatory countries*, a scientific board, and a consortium. The actors in the initiative and NGOs are continuing the work and its implementation on a global scale.
What place does agriculture hold in the fight against global warming?
On the eve of COP21, it amounted to eating less meat and a vague concept of climate-smart agriculture. It was therefore necessary to review its place in the debate, affirming that agriculture is not a problem but a solution, provided that we rethink the terms of the agricultural production and development model.
Of course, agriculture must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, it has an asset that other sectors do not. Thanks to plant photosynthesis, it can store — particularly in farmland — excess carbon from the atmosphere.