how does agriculture influence climate change

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Carbon Sequestration in Soils

Agriculture as Carbon Cap and Storage

  • Scaling up from soil to the entire industry, the agricultural sector could be “broadly carbon neutral” by 2030, effectively negating the agricultural industry’s humongous carbon footprint. Translation: We would avoid emitting a whopping 2 gigatonnes — that’s 2 billion metric tonnes — of carbon dioxide. Given that, practicing sustainable agriculture, along with reducing deforestation, is far m…

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Local Food Systems and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Combined with the two big green steps mentioned above, local food systems can help reduce agriculture’s impact on global warming even further. The example that resident sustainability engineer Pablo used for calculation — cherries grown close enough to be transported by truck rather than airplane — won’t apply to everything, but the lesson is clear: Employing organic agricu…

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Industrial Agriculture’s Huge Carbon Footprint

  • On the other side of the equation, industrial agriculture — the practice currently employed by the majority of the developed world — has a hugely negative impact on global warming. The U.S. food system contributes nearly 20 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions; on a global scale, figures from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Cha…

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fertilizer and Pesticide Use

  • But wait, there’s more! If we consider some of the embodied energy required for industrial ag, it gets worse. According to Will Allen, green farmer extraordinaire, including all the “manufacture and use of pesticides and fertilizers, fuel and oil for tractors, equipment, trucking and shipping, electricity for lighting, cooling, and heating, and emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous o…

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Land Use Changes and Agriculture

  • It’s not just the actual farming (if you can call it that) that makes industrial agriculture so detrimental. In almost every case, land use changes — say, deforestation, or paving over green space for suburban expansion — result in more surface warming. One exception: When deforestation occurs to create more agricultural land. That’s right, deforestation results in surfac…

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