Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: GHG impacts and mitigation

26 September 2013

New evidence suggests that a chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed holds enormous promise for reducing the emission of nitrous oxide. N2O is the most harmful of the warming gases, with a global warming potential 296 times that of carbon dioxide. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the livestock sector accounts for 65 percent of the nitrous oxide emitted.

17 September 2013

This paper addresses the following key question: How much land-based greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved without compromising food security and environmental goals?

Taking the AFOLU sector (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use), the paper starts by distinguishing and quantifying the range of options for action on the a. supply-side (improved management of biomass, soils, livestock, and energy use in agriculture and forestry) and b. the demand-side (reducing food waste, limiting over-consumption, and shifting to less resource-intense diets) before considering some of the trade offs and interactions among the different options.

24 July 2013

A new study from International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIAS considers whether it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by producing more food on less land. It specifically focuses on the effects of crop yield and livestock feed efficiency scenarios on GHG emissions from agriculture and land use change in developing countries.

16 July 2013

This book by Michael I. Brown presents a major critique of the aims and policies of REDD as currently structured, particularly in terms of their social feasibility. With deforestation being a key source of greenhouse gas emissions and of climate change, and forests representing major sinks for carbon initiatives such as REDD, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, have however been widely endorsed by policy-makers.

8 July 2013

This report by Forum for the Future’s Stephanie Draper focuses on how the challenges within the food system can best be tackled and how to make it more sustainable. The report proposes looking at systems innovation to find solutions and it identifies challenges in the current food system ranging from feeding a growing population while coping with the impacts of climate change, to providing secure and affordable energy to all while reducing C02 emissions.

2 July 2013

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report on technical options for the mitigation of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions livestock production. The report, titled 'Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Livestock Production: A Review of Technical Options for non-CO2 Emissions,' provides a review of over 900 publications focusing on feeding, manure management, breeding and animal husbandry strategies (including the use of rbST and animal genetics) to reduce emissions of methane and nitrous oxide nitrous oxide.

2 July 2013

This study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines the approaches taken by NGOs in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden to encourage consumers to reduce their meat consumption in light of climate change.

2 July 2013

A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists in an article in the journal Science.

30 May 2013

This CCAFS blogpost by Timm Tennigkeit and Andreas Wilkes argues that agriculture is a major driver of deforestation, but offers great mitigation potential if managed properly. The authors’ recently released research report finds that emission reduction approaches can also be cost competitive.

30 May 2013

In this excellent Guardian article Myles Allen of Oxford University describes and comments on reactions to a paper that he and his colleagues published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Their paper gives a new best estimate for the amount of warming that is expected due to a doubling of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. It estimates a warming of about 1.3˚C, somewhat lower than previous estimates of 1.8°C.

8 May 2013

This report looks at the role of consumption based emissions (i.e. taking into account emissions embedded in imported goods) in contributing to the UK’s overall carbon footprint. It covers past trends and sets out future scenarios for UK consumption emissions. It also looks at the lifecycle emissions of low-carbon technologies in order to understand how their deployment would impact the UK’s carbon footprint.

22 April 2013

Europe is reforming its biofuels policy due to concerns raised about its impact on global land use change patterns and global food markets. The negative environmental impacts of the biofuels policy have been well demonstrated, but what is less clear are the economic implications.

15 April 2013

New Zealand’s temperatures are warming, and its weather patterns shifting – trends consistent with those recorded around the globe. While a reliable water source – our surrounding oceans – will protect us from the severe aridity expected in some other parts of the world, it will not insulate land-based sectors from a more intense and variable climate. Temperatures will continue to warm, and carbon dioxide concentrations will increase.

18 March 2013

The USDA has published a report entitled Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation. Written by 56 expert authors from Federal service, universities, and non-government organizations, it reviews the evidence available of the expected consequences of climate change on U.S. agriculture, focusing on the next 25 to 100 years.

11 March 2013

This paper highlights the impacts of heat stress on yields of maize in France.  It finds that while irrigation can be used to adapt to reduced rainfall, heat stress is a concern that cannot be so easily managed.  It finds that assuming current climate projections, yields per hectare will need to improve by 12% between 2016 and 2035 simply to maintain current production levels.

4 March 2013

This is a very interesting study. It’s based on a very small set of interviews - 16 people who self-identified as deliberately trying to live a lower-carbon lifestyle because of concern about climate change – and so its findings don’t necessarily apply to other people living in lower carbon ways.

25 February 2013

The British Biochar Foundation is inviting people to sign up to its website. Details as follows. Our aim is to provide a place for developers, producers, enthusiasts and anyone else who is interested, to come together to share knowledge, experience, ideas and contacts and to act as a platform and catalyst for the emerging biochar industry.

25 February 2013

A paper published in Nature Climate Change suggests that planting trees for use as a biofuel source, near populated areas, is likely to increase human deaths due to inhalation of ozone. Increased levels of isoprene emitted from such trees, when interacting with other air pollutants can lead to increased levels of ozone in the air which might also lead to lower crop yields.

11 February 2013

This very useful paper provides a much needed analysis of GHG emissions resulting from community urban food growing.  The study is located in the London Borough of Sutton ( a suburban part of london) and the area of production covers just under 3 hectares.  The study concludes that urban food prodution can deliver useful reductions in GHG emissions as compared with supermarket equivalents, provided that care is taken to produce the crops where there is the greatest environmental comparative advantage.

7 January 2013

A study regarding the efficiency of beetle larvae (mealworms) as a potential protein source was published in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Wageningen in Netherlands. The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.