Peter Finke / Professor Soil Science

Ghent University / Agricultural and environmental sciences

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding. 

My main concern regarding climate change is that soils can store but also lose large amounts of CO2 and methane, and that current soil management (for agriculture, forestry and in the landscape) does not result in maximal storage of carbon and minimal losses to the atmosphere. I worry that such losses, especially in arctic regions, will go up dramatically when the temperatures rise, which will accelerate the global warming beyond repair. Additional effects of climate change on soils are that extreme weather events like droughts and heavy precipitation will cause damage to plant growth and have other negative impacts such as erosion.
I do not trust the politicians to fight this problem and think that individuals must act according to their capabilities. What I do to reduce my own negative impact on the environment, is to try to reduce my carbon footprint: At home we reduced the consumption of meat to once a week maximally. House heating is at 19°C. We do not take holidays by plane. We have 1 car. We avoid plastic packing materials, which is not easy. Put tax on all plastic use! I go to work on my bike when I can (4x a week) and when I must travel in Europe I consider taking the train and not the plane.
I think public mentality must change regarding meat consumption, plastic use and random waste disposal. I think that the isolation of (older) houses must be improved by incentives.
The role of politicians-by-profession does not make me optimistic. They should (1) focus on limiting the negative effects of large industries and energy plants and (2) provide and communicate ideas and incentives to the public. For the first aspect, the country depends on them, for the second not. For the first, we can use the voting ballot, for the second common sense.


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