Soil organic carbon sequestration rates over 20 years based on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) methodology were combined with local economic data to determine the potential for soil C sequestration in wheat-based production systems on the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP). The C sequestration potential of rice–wheat systems of India on conversion to no-tillage is estimated to be 44.1 Mt C over 20 years. Implementing no-tillage practices in maize–wheat and cotton–wheat production systems would yield an additional 6.6 Mt C. This offset is equivalent to 9.6% of India's annual greenhouse gas emissions (519 Mt C) from all sectors (excluding land use change and forestry), or less than one percent per annum. The economic analysis was summarized as carbon supply curves expressing the total additional C accumulated over 20 year for a price per tonne of carbon sequestered ranging from zero to USD 200. At a carbon price of USD 25 Mg C−1, 3 Mt C (7% of the soil C sequestration potential) could be sequestered over 20 years through the implementation of no-till cropping practices in rice–wheat systems of the Indian States of the IGP, increasing to 7.3 Mt C (17% of the soil C sequestration potential) at USD 50 Mg C−1. Maximum levels of sequestration could be attained with carbon prices approaching USD 200 Mg C−1 for the States of Bihar and Punjab. At this carbon price, a total of 34.7 Mt C (79% of the estimated C sequestration potential) could be sequestered over 20 years across the rice–wheat region of India, with Uttar Pradesh contributing 13.9 Mt C.
Grace, P.R.; Antle, J.; Aggarwal, P.K.; Ogle, S.; Paustian, K.; Basso, B. Soil carbon sequestration and associated economic costs for farming systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plain: A meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment (2012) 146 (1) 137-146. [DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2011.10.019]