The working group on the carbon balance of olive orchards begins its work
On Wednesday 6 February, 2024, scientists in the field of the carbon balance of olive groves met virtually for this IOC-hosted meeting. This marks the first of a series of scheduled encounters for this working group who will advise the IOC on the olive tree’s role in the fight against climate change. The meeting was organised by the IOC’s Olive Growing, Olive Oil Technology and Environment Unit and inaugurated by IOC Executive Director Jaime Lillo, who recalled that recognising the contribution of olive orchards as part of the strategy to combat climate change will be one of the Organisation’s main lines of work under his mandate.
The international task force, with backgrounds in a diversity of fields ranging from the ecology behind olive cultivation to the modelling of soil carbon fluxes, will guide the Executive Secretariat to develop a robust methodology and easy-to-use tools for determining the carbon balance of olive groves, with a view to encouraging the conversion to carbon credits that can be traded on the voluntary emissions market. The objectives of the IOC’s working group are, namely:
- Provide evidence of the olive grove’s role as a tool in the fight against climate change due to its capacity as a CO2 sink;
- Define a robust methodology based on scientific knowledge for calculating the carbon balance of olive groves;
- Develop easy-to-use software tools for calculating the carbon balance;
- Design a voluntary carbon credit certification scheme for the olive sector that is compatible with the European Commission’s regulations;
- Establish the IOC as the forum and catalyser for the above, with a view to underscoring and disseminating the olive tree’s role in combating climate change.
The working group was established as a result of the international workshop organised by the IOC in October 2023, under the title “Carbon balance of the olive sector: part of the solution against climate change”, which brought together around 300 specialists from 30 countries. As a result, the subsequent November meeting of the Committee on Technology and the Environment agreed to set up this task force with the view of enhancing the olive tree’s contribution to the global strategy for addressing climate change.