Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Climate change: Mitigation

Climate mitigation mitigation involves actions aimed at limiting the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This may consist in reducing anthropogenic emissions or by increasing the capacity of carbon sinks. Food systems contribute some 20-30% of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts will need to be addressed if substantial global climate change mitigation is to be achieved. In agriculture, management and breeding methods for mitigation of climate change are being developed for all regions. However, not only technological change, but also changes in demand (away from emission intensive foods such as meat and dairy), and in enabling socio-economic structures and the governance framework will influence the amount of GHGs emitted in the future. In the food system, there is scope to develop new practices which deliver multiple win-wins – for example, that function both as climate change adaptation and as mitigation strategies (e.g. climate resilient crops that also bind more carbon in the soil) or that deliver non environmental benefits – for example where shifts to lower environmental impact diets also improve nutritional wellbeing.

12 December 2017

This Research Handbook, edited by Mary Jane Angelo, Fredric G. Levin and Anél Du Plessis, brings together scholars from across disciplines and across the globe (including FCRN member Jonathan Verschuuren) to untangle the climate-food web and critically explore the nexus between climate change, agriculture and law, upon which food security and climate resilient development depends. It is a useful introduction to the research which is being undertaken in the area of climate change and agricultural law.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 20130712-AMS-LSC-0415, Flickr, CC by 2.0
13 November 2017

This paper presents the findings of a food systems model that considers how specific agronomic characteristics of organic agriculture could be harnessed so as to enable it to play a greater role in sustainable food systems.

Photo: Noel Portugal, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2017

This new paper by FCRN member Elin Röös , the FCRN’s Tara Garnett and colleagues explores the following questions: What would be the implications, for land use and greenhouse gas emissions, if our global population moved away from eating beef and other ruminant meats and switched mostly to chicken? What if we all went vegan? What if all our meat demand were met by artificial meat? Or what  if, in an attempt to avoid ‘feed-food’ competition, we limited our consumption of animal products to what we could obtain by rearing animals on grasslands and feeding them byproducts and food waste?

30 September 2017

UK-based organisation Global Food Security has published a short report on ‘Paris-compliant healthy food systems’.

6 September 2017

Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions has released a report based on their conference ‘Sequestering Carbon in Soil:  Addressing the Climate Threat’ held in May 2017. 

Photo: Mr Beans, Kenneth Leung, Flickr, Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic
6 September 2017

This study by FCRN member Helen Harwatt and colleagues seeks to determine whether simple dietary changes can make a meaningful contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts, by considering a very simple example of US consumers substituting beans for beef in their diets. The study uses available life cycle assessment (LCA; see Chapter 2 of foodsource) data to predict the change in GHG emissions that would be associated with a substitution of beans for beef (substitution on the basis of calories, and on the basis of protein content). They place these projected changes in the context of US 2020 GHG reduction targets.

Photo: William Warby, Scorched Earth, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic
29 August 2017

In this opinion piece, Edward Parson of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA, argues that Climate Engineering (CE) must urgently be given greater and more serious consideration within climate change research and policy, and calls upon the IPCC to take responsibility for this.

Photo: Feral Arts, “Little River Landcare Group - Machinery Conversion Field Day”, Flickr, Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic.
19 July 2017

This OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries report employs a meta-analysis/literature review approach to identify and analyse barriers to the adoption of “climate-friendly” policies in agriculture; that is, the adoption of measures to enhance the adaptation of farming to the impacts of climate change, and the mitigation of its contributions to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It should be noted that the report does not go into specifics about what constitutes a climate-friendly practice: this is taken to be an understood concept and the focus of the report is on the barriers to adoption of these measures, not the measures themselves.

13 July 2017

Recognising that changing what people eat can make a major contribution to the environmental performance of the food system, the new and updated Livewell Plates in this report illustrate the minimal dietary changes required to reach the 2 °C climate target. The report presents simple steps – such as eating more plants, legumes and grains –  that could help cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Photo: United Soybean Board, Soil, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
13 July 2017

In this short perspective piece, researchers from the Netherlands, USA and the UK critically assess the COP21 4 per 1000 initiative, which seeks to increase global yearly agricultural soil organic carbon sequestration by 4‰ (= 0.4%, or 1.2 billion tonnes). The authors argue that as soil organic matter (SOM) also contains nitrogen (N), with a C-to-N ratio always approaching 12, this will require the sequestration of an extra 100 million tonnes of N per year, and they question the feasibility of achieving this. 

Photo: Joshua Mayer, Forest, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
1 June 2017

This paper takes countries’ mitigation targets (Intended National Determined Contributions, or INDCs), submitted since the Paris Climate agreement, and, using supplementary information from other official documents, quantifies how much of the promised actions are related to Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF, primarily deforestation and forest management). 

1 June 2017

This paper by researchers in Germany explores the scalability of managed woody and herbaceous bioenergy plantations (BP) for terrestrial capture of atmospheric carbon. The researchers make simulations to quantitatively explore how much land area could be made available globally for this terrestrial carbon dioxide removal (tCDR) strategy. 

26 May 2017

Ahead of the third UK election in as many years (8th June 2017), Carbon Brief is tracking the climate change and energy content of parties’ manifestos. The site allows you to navigate around to explore the parties’ climate and energy plans and compare this year’s promises with what the parties said before the last election via a publicly-accessible spreadsheet, which covers both 2015 and 2017.

8 May 2017

What is the latest science on soil's ability to pull carbon pollution out of the atmosphere? Breakthrough Strategies hosted a webinar on April 24 on the Technical Potential of Soil Carbon Sequestration. It featured three of the world’s leading experts on strategies for drawing carbon pollution out of the atmosphere and storing it in soils: Keith Paustian, Jean-François Soussana, and Eric Toensmeier.

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