Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: GHG impacts and mitigation

30 October 2017

In October 2016, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was adopted by the world’s nations, mandating the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption. This new report from the University of Birmingham, published at the one year anniversary of the Kigali Amendment, highlights the significant challenge facing the European retail industry as it transitions from damaging HFCs to natural refrigerants.

Photo: Colin Crowley, NEkenyaFB21|Young boy with lack of hair pigment due to protein deficiency during nutrition survey in Wajir District, Flickr, CC by 2.0
30 October 2017

This study by US- and New Zealand-based researchers estimates the effect of elevated CO2 (eCO2) on the edible protein content of crop plants, and subsequently on protein intake and protein deficiency risk globally, by country. The basis for this study is that 76% of the world’s population derives most of their daily protein from plants, and that a meta-analysis by Myers, et al. (2014) revealed that plant nutrient content (of various types including protein, iron and zinc) changes under elevated CO2.

Photo: Flickr, Prelude 2000, Iron Kettle, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2017

Certain cereal grains and other crop plants have been shown to have lower iron concentrations when grown under elevated CO2. This study by researchers from Massachusetts, USA, examined diets from 152 countries to investigate which groups of people might be most at risk of iron deficiency as a result of increasing CO2 emissions, on the basis of current dietary composition, the current global prevalence of iron deficiency, and projected CO2 emissions up to the year 2050.

30 September 2017

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

Photo credit: Maryland GovPics, Buy Local, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
12 September 2017

This paper examines the common assumption that local foods are more sustainable than foods sourced from more distant locations. Using the multi-criteria decision aid method (MCDA), which allows for multi-dimensional criteria to be assessed, this paper answers the following research question: “how do selected local or global food products compare and which rank first in terms of sustainability performance?”. 

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: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
21 June 2017

A new resource has been created by the Carbon Brief, which brings together data from a number of indicators that show the effects of climate change, showing trends in our climate, atmosphere, oceans, and the cryosphere (ice) 

Photo: Jason Jacobs, “Fields of green”, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
21 June 2017

This paper discusses EU climate and agriculture policy instruments and analyses how these can motivate farmers to adopt soil carbon sequestration projects. 

21 June 2017

This report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) looks at how cities are finding innovative ways to implement food policies. It focuses on five case studies of cities that have developed concerted urban food policies − to either ensure access to decent, nutritious food for all, to support farm livelihoods or to mitigate climate change. 

Photo: harmishhk, "éolienne", Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
21 June 2017

This study presents estimates of how changes in climate might affect the value of European farmland. Based on data for over 41 000 farms, the results suggest that their economic value could drop by up to 32%, depending on the climate scenario considered. The models represent severe, moderate and mild outcomes, respectively.  Farms in southern Europe are particularly sensitive to climate change and could suffer value losses of up to 9% per 1 °C rise.

1 June 2017

The purpose of this policy guidance note is to guide policy makers at country level to identify entry points for assessing and addressing food security and nutrition (FSN) in the face of climate change. It  includes background information on how climate change and variability affect the agriculture sectors and FSN and how the agriculture sectors and dietary patterns contribute to GHG emissions. 

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