Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Methane

Image: Sonja Pieper, Ploughing a rice field in South India, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
8 October 2018

Rice cultivation emits methane and nitrous oxide, which are both more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Policies to reduce methane emissions from rice farming generally recommend using intermittent (as opposed to continuous) flooding. However, intermittent flooding could produce much higher nitrous oxide emissions than continuous flooding, according to a recent paper.

Image: trf57, Sheep New Zealand, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
12 September 2018

New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has released a report exploring how much and over what timescale the climate is affected by methane emissions from livestock. It focused on two questions. First,if methane emissions from livestock were held at current levels or followed business-as-usual trajectories, what would their contribution to future warming be? Second, what reduction in methane emissions from livestock would be needed so that they cause no additional contribution to warming?

Image: Pixabay, Dominoes barricade, CC0 Creative Commons
20 August 2018

Researchers have warned that a cascade of positive feedback loops could push global temperatures into a “Hothouse Earth” state for millennia, even if human greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Some systems, such as ice sheets, forests and permafrost, could pass a temperature tipping point beyond which they rapidly become net contributors to climate change. If one is set off, the warming produced could trigger the remaining tipping points, like a line of dominoes.

Image: Tobias Akerboom, Complaining cow, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 July 2018

A paper proposes a new method for evaluating the climate impact of short-lived greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane. Different GHGs are currently assessed on the basis of global warming potential (GWP), calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent, usually over a 100 year time horizon. The paper authors say that this misrepresents the impact of short-lived GHGs, because they have stronger climate impacts shortly after being released and lower impacts after being in the atmosphere for some time.

Image: Jennifer Woodard Maderazo, Cheese, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
23 April 2018

This paper examines some of the environmental trade-offs associated with using multilayered biodegradable packaging made of thermoplastic starch and polyhydroxyalkanoate.

Image: Magnascan, Flame, Pixabay, Public Domain
10 April 2018

A recording of the webinar “Methane and global warming in the 21st century” by Bob Howarth of Cornell University is available here.

Image: Pete, The Cows…, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
19 March 2018

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have sequenced the genomes of 913 types of microbes found inside cows’ digestive systems, hoping to discover more about the types of enzymes that the microbes use to break down the food.

Photo: Erik Edgren, taro burger, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
12 April 2017

In this paper, using three scenarios for food demand, the researchers model and highlight the indirect relationship between greenhouse gas (GHG) emission abatement within the food supply system and the energy system, globally.

Photo credit: Micolo J, Flickr, Creative Commons License
19 December 2016

This editorial piece in Environmental Research Letters highlights the fact that, as opposed to CO2 emissions, those of the powerful greenhouse gas methane are currently rising faster than at any point in the last twenty years. Around two-thirds of global emissions of methane are attributable to anthropogenic activities, with agriculture and related land use change identified as a main culprit.

Photo credit: Sam Beebe, Cows n Canoe, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
3 November 2016

A chance discovery was made in Canada 11 years ago, when it was observed that cattle in a paddock near the sea are more productive. This led to research showing that feeding cows seaweed not only helped improve their health and growth, but also reduced their enteric methane emissions by about 20%.

Photo: South African Tourism, Northern Cape, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

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

(Photo credit: Gilles San Martin, Creative commons licence, Flickr)
28 June 2016

119 countries pledged to reduce their GHG emissions in the 2015 Paris Agreement but exactly how much mitigation is needed by each sector to meet the 2-degree global target still largely unknown. This paper by Wollenberg et al., provides an estimate of how much GHG mitigation should be expected of the agricultural sector; compares this with what current plausible mitigation options could deliver – and finds a major discrepancy between the two.

20 April 2016

This study is the first to look at the net balance of the three major (biogenic, non-fossil fuel) greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide - for every region of earth's land masses. It analyses emissions from land use and land use change and uptakes from land and forests and concludes that the terrestrial biosphere (land and forests) is a net emitter of these greenhouse gases.

Photo credit: Tanti Ruwani (flickr, creative commons)
10 March 2016

A new genetic variety of rice has properties that ensure that the methane emissions that are normally released in production are substantially reduced. Biochemists in Sweden, China and the United States have worked together to create a new rice variety called SUSIBA2, which has now been dubbed the world’s first ‘climate-friendly rice’.