Through agriculture, humans have been sequestering carbon in the soil for thousands of years. Today, 11% of our global landmass is used for crop production. That’s land that humans are already working, amending, tending, and valuing. Regenerative agriculture offers the potential to turn our land into a climate solution.
But a transition to pro-climate agricultural practices will not happen by accident. It will require the development of new sensors and measurement technologies, massive amounts of data to verify carbon sequestration and monitor changes over time, international collaboration, and financial structures that ensure that farmers who provide society with valuable ecosystem services are fairly compensated.
A host of soil science is being conducted today. But unlocking soil’s climate potential will require unlocking soil data.
From Energy to Water to Soil
Pecan Street is applying its experience in electricity, water, and natural gas data collection and analysis to soils. Over the last decade, we have developed globally unique datasets on how people use energy in their homes, and the insight that stemmed from this data-intensive, collaborative approach surprised even us. A few years later, the State of Texas asked us to apply this same approach to making water smarter.
Turning water “smart” required the development of new sensors to better understand where the biggest opportunities to save water existed and to monitor which conservation efforts worked. The result was our Blu suite of hardware and software, a low-cost, readily-deployable solution that turns legacy mechanical water meters into real-time digital meters.
A similar data gap exists in the soil sciences and agriculture, as these two under-invested disciplines are now trying to respond to the massive global pressure for soils to provide climate solutions.
Pecan Street is collaborating with various initiatives to apply our unique capabilities to accelerating soil carbon sequestration. If you would like to join our efforts, please contact us.
Launched by France at COP21, 4p1000 is the world’s primary convening body to accelerate soil carbon sequestration on farmlands. 4p1000 stands for ‘4 parts per thousand’, which represents the Consortium’s ultimate goal to increase carbon sequestered in cropland soils by 4%, or an annual growth rate of 0.4%, globally per year. Pecan Street is bringing our unique knowledge of climate impact data to bear in the consortium’s work and on the creation of measurement and verification solutions to accelerate innovation. We’re also helping bring industry leaders in to partner with the Consortium’s researchers, ensuring adoption and application of developed solutions as well as coordination between industry and academia.
The Soil & Climate Consortium
Initiated by Pecan Street, The Soil & Climate Consortium will convene leading U.S. soil scientists with innovative entrepreneurs and industry leaders to convert breakthroughs in soil science research into market solutions. Co-led by Cornell University and Colorado State University, we are currently completing the research timeline and rounding out membership in phase one of the Consortium.
For the past three years, Pecan Street has worked with a leading group of investors and philanthropists to develop new investment tools and resources for cleantech start-ups. As a result, our team recently published a toolkit to help foundations understand their options for evaluating cleantech investment opportunities and to get more funding flowing into developing leapfrog clean energy solutions. Pecan Street is working with its network of financial and industry leaders to expand this work into Ag Tech acceleration.