Showing results for: GHG impacts and mitigation
The ‘2016 Food, Water, Energy and Climate Outlook’ by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change finds that even if commitments from the COP21 climate agreement are kept, many staple crops in various regions are still at risk of crop failures through extreme events, but at the same time, yields in many regions are projected to increase.
This paper presents the results of a modelling exercise that aimed to identify low emissions pathways for a growing global livestock sector. This article uses 6 case studies, modelled in the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model developed by FAO, to illustrate the climate change mitigation potential of livestock achievable through changes in feeding, breeding and husbandry as well as grazing management to increase soil carbon sequestration.
Ongoing discussions on agriculture within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will culminate this year at the COP22 climate negotiations in Marrakech, following a long process since their initiation in Durban in 2011. The talks in Marrakech follow the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 which, in its preamble, explicitly refers to safeguarding food security. Also, the vast majority of countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submissions (i.e. climate pledges) prioritise agriculture as a sector for adaptation and mitigation action.
The authors used a species distribution model and applied this to the 887 marine fish (which represents 60% of global average annual catch in the 2000s) and invertebrate species in the world oceans under high and low emissions scenarios. The authors find that global maximum catch potential (MCP) is projected to decrease globally by 7.7% between 2010 and 2050, under the business as usual scenario, and the global revenue from this is predicted to decrease by 10.4% compared to 2010. Under the low emissions scenario, MCP is projected to decrease globally by 4.1% and revenue by 7.1%
This paper by researchers in the US and Australia reports the findings of a long-term field-trial-based investigation into the effect of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2) on soy yield and drought tolerance. Their findings challenge the widely-held belief that crop yield will be increased by elevated CO2 (the so-called CO2 fertilisation effect) both because of increased photosynthetic rate, and because of lower susceptibility to drought: it has long been assumed that in higher CO2 conditions, stomatal conductance will be lower, leading to slower water loss from the leaves, slower water uptake from the roots, and consequently more moisture remaining in the soil for longer, thereby sustaining crops in limited rainfall.
Recent assessments have strongly suggested that meeting the widely agreed target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will require the deployment of substantial carbon sinks in addition to measures to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This perspective article examines the latest research and thinking on the ability of agricultural soil management to reduce GHG emissions and promote soils as carbon sinks, and the practical feasibility of implementing available soil management practices
The agricultural sector is particularly vulnerable to climate change; a small increase of 1 degree Celsius can have significant negative impacts on crop yields, especially in the tropics. Global economic losses in production of three major crops (wheat, maize, and barley) attributed to climate change in the recent past are estimated at approximately US$5 billion per year.
This study compares real world observations of the age of carbon in soils, to soil carbon’s age as represented in earth system models that are used to make climate change projections. It then explores the implications of the results, by modelling expected future levels of carbon storage in global soils, occurring in response to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. To illustrate the difference, modelled increases in soil carbon storage are contrasted both before and after updating earth systems models to reflect these real-world observations.
The Danish Council on Ethics is calling on the Danish government to regulate the consumption of what it calls ‘climate damaging foods’ by placing taxes on those products with the highest associated emissions.
Among climate mitigation options, afforestation offers its carbon sequestration potential at a moderate cost, and therefore might be used at a large scale in the future. As suitable land is limited though, competition of land for forest with crop and pastureland might drive food prices up.
Strong demand for vegetable oil has led to a boom in the Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil industries since 1990. Typically planted in extremely large monoculture plantations, the crop has been implicated in biodiversity loss and human rights issues.
In a 2013 TED talk entitled ‘How to fight desertification and reverse climate change’ the Zimbabwean ecologist, Allan Savory, claimed that the ‘holistic management’ grazing management method that he has developed and promoted over 40 years, could stop global desertification and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to preindustrial levels, within a few decades.
In this Perspective article in the journal Science, the FCRN’s Tara Garnett articulates the need for a strong policy focus on sustainable healthy diets, and assesses the current state of research and understanding on the relationship between health and sustainability.
This review article provides a summary of the multiple environmental and societal costs and benefits of livestock production. Homing in on climate change, it reviews the range of GHG mitigation options that have been proposed both on the supply side (actions that potentially reduce emissions per unit of production, or absolute emissions, considering both changes in practice and in policy) and those on the demand side (e.g. reductions in meat consumption, waste reduction).
As methane produced by ruminants is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), many researchers and organisations have pointed to the necessity of reducing ruminant stocks around the world. In this study, the authors argue that with the right crop and grazing management, ruminants might not only reduce overall GHG emissions, but could, in fact, facilitate increases in soil carbon, and reduce environmental damage related to current cropping practices.