Is industrial agriculture an example of net carbon source


How can agriculture become a net sink of carbon?

Under current land management practices, agriculture remains one of the leading contributors to global carbon emissions. However, it is the only economic sector with the potential to transform itself from a net carbon emitter to a net sink using practices broadly classified as “carbon farming”.

What is carbon farming?

What is carbon farming? Carbon farming is a broad set of agricultural practices across a variety of farm types that result in increased storage of atmospheric carbon in the soil. Many of these practices are common in organic farming, regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and other approaches to food production.

Which activities contribute to N2O emissions from agricultural lands?

Specific activities that contribute to N 2 O emissions from agricultural lands include the application of synthetic and organic fertilizers, the growth of nitrogen-fixing crops, the drainage of organic soils, and irrigation practices.

What are the main sources of emissions from agriculture?

Smaller sources of agricultural emissions include CO 2 from liming and urea application, CH 4 from rice cultivation, and burning crop residues, which produces CH 4 and N 2 O. More information about emissions from agriculture can be found in the agriculture chapter in the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.


Is agriculture a carbon source?

greenhouse gas emissions Agriculture activities serve as both sources and sinks for greenhouse gases. Agriculture sinks of greenhouse gases are reservoirs of carbon that have been removed from the atmosphere through the process of biologi- cal carbon sequestration.

What are examples of industrial sources of carbon dioxide?

The stationary sources of CO2 in this database comprise power plants, oil refineries, gas-processing plants, cement plants, iron and steel plants and those industrial facilities where fossil fuels are used as feedstock, namely ammonia, ethylene, ethylene oxide and hydrogen.

Is agriculture a source of carbon dioxide?

Using estimates from 2005, 2007 and 2008, the researchers found that agricultural production provides the lion’s share of greenhouse-gas emissions from the food system, releasing up to 12,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year — up to 86% of all food-related anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions.

Is agriculture a carbon source or sink?

Agriculture is both a source and a sink of GHGs (Figure 1). Sources generate GHG emissions that are released into the atmosphere and contribute to global climate change. Sinks remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store carbon through physical or biological processes.

What are examples of carbon sources?

A carbon source releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Examples of carbon sources include the burning of fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil, deforestation and volcanic eruptions.

Which industry produces the most carbon emissions?

Transportation (27% of 2020 greenhouse gas emissions) – The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes.

How industrial agriculture affects the carbon cycle?

Our fossil-fuel based industrial agriculture contributes to greenhouse-gas emissions in several distinct ways: directly through the fuel burnt by agricultural machinery, during food processing, and by transporting the average ounce of food over a thousand miles “from the farm to the table”; indirectly in the …

How does agriculture cause carbon emissions?

At every stage, food provisioning releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Farming in particular releases significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gases. Methane is produced by livestock during digestion due to enteric fermentation and is released via belches.

How is carbon used in agriculture?

Carbon farming involves implementing agricultural practices that improve the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and soil organic matter.

Which of the following is not a carbon source?

Which of the following is not a Carbon source? Explanation: The yeast extract is a nitrogen source. Blackstrap, corn, beet, hydrol molasses are the carbon sources. The carbon sources are very useful to the microorganisms for healthy metabolism and functioning.

Why is agriculture considered as major contributor to carbon sink?

Agriculture can take carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and store it as carbon in plants and soils. Agriculture can also produce energy from biomass that can displace fossil fuels, the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Is farming carbon neutral?

Farmland is one of the planet’s largest reservoirs of carbon and has huge potential to expand its role of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Agriculture also has the potential to reduce its current carbon footprint – roughly 12% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

What is industrial agriculture?

Industrial agriculture is the large-scale, intensive production of crops and animals, often involving chemical fertilizers on crops or the routine , harmful use of antibiotics in animals (as a way to compensate for filthy conditions, even when the animals are not sick). It may also involve crops that are genetically modified, …

How does crop farming affect the environment?

There is soil depletion and soil infertility related to monoculture, soil erosion, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, increased greenhouse gas emissions (particularly methane and nitrous oxide) from cow digestion and manure as well as nitrogen-based fertilizers, and pesticide overuse leading to potential pesticide toxicity (especially in farmworkers). Studies show that employees of CAFOs are at risk from potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria; workers can also bring these bacteria home. Farmworkers and local communities can also be exposed to hazardous fumes wafting from unlined, uncovered pits of animal waste and other sources. And despite the fact that CAFOs often must meet permitting requirements and are regulated by both state and federal agencies, NRDC has discovered a worrying lack of transparency. Discrepancies between data collected by states and the EPA suggest the EPA is unaware of the size, number, and location of CAFOs across the country and what those operations are doing to control pollution. And that’s just for starters. Here are some areas of particular concern.

How much manure was produced in 2012?

In 2012 livestock and poultry raised in the largest CAFOs in the United States produced 369 million tons of manure, according to an analysis of USDA figures done by Food & Water Watch. All that waste has to go somewhere.

Why is monoculture bad for the soil?

Monoculture also renders the soil prone to rapid erosion, since the practice leaves the soil bare outside of the crop’s growing season. Perhaps more problematically, repeatedly planting the same crop invites pests that prey on a certain plant to wait around the same spot for their favorite food to return.

Why do industrial farms use antibiotics?

Industrial farms overuse antibiotics, feeding large amounts of the drugs—often the same ones used to treat human illnesses—to healthy animals to help them survive in crowded, dirty CAFOs. Low-level exposure to antibiotics creates the perfect breeding ground for superbugs, those pathogens that antibiotics can’t kill.

How long has agriculture been around?

Human agriculture has existed for about 12,000 years, and industrial farming is less than a century old. But the latter has become so prevalent that sustainable farming practices are now sometimes branded “alternative.”

What did ancient farmers plant?

Ancient farmers planted seeds from only the sweetest fruits, generation after generation, ensuring that any genetic variations that increased sweetness survived. By selecting plants with increasingly white, increasingly tiny, flowers, farmers turned a weedy little herb into cauliflower. It was slow but effective.

What percentage of transportation is petroleum based?

Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes primarily gasoline and diesel. 2. Electricity production (25 percent of 2019 greenhouse gas emissions) – Electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions.

How does the EPA track emissions?

EPA tracks total U.S. emissions by publishing the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. This annual report estimates the total national greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with human activities across the United States.

When did electricity emissions decrease?

Additionally, indirect emissions from electricity use by homes and businesses increased from 1990 to 2007, but have decreased since then to approximately 1990 levels in 2019. All emission estimates from the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2019. Larger image to save or print.

How much did the EPA save in energy?

EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Exit partners avoided over 330 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2018 alone, helped Americans save over $35 billion in energy costs, and reduced electricity use by 430 billion kWh. Nuclear Energy. Generating electricity from nuclear energy rather than the combustion of fossil fuels.

What does the EPA do?

EPA supports programs for the aluminum, semiconductor, and magnesium industries. Instituting handling policies and procedures for perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF 6) that reduce occurrences of accidental releases and leaks from containers and equipment. References.

What is industrial agriculture?

Industrial Agriculture, an Extraction Industry Like Fossil Fuels, a Growing Driver of Climate Change. On his farm in southwestern Iowa, Seth Watkins plants several different crops and raises cattle. He controls erosion and water pollution by leaving some land permanently covered in native grass. He grazes his cattle on pasture, …

What are biofuels used for?

Like subsidies, government mandates to use biofuels have pushed farmers to expand corn and soybean acreage—especially on environmentally sensitive land . “A lot of erodible land, and some in wetlands, was converted to row crops,” said Matt Liebman, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University.

What is carbon farming?

Carbon farming is a broad set of agricultural practices across a variety of farm types that result in increased storage of atmospheric carbon in the soil. Many of these practices are common in organic farming, regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and other approaches to food production. When plants photosynthesize, they remove carbon dioxide …

Why is carbon farming important?

It is important to recognize the value of these other benefits, so they don’t aren’t overlooked when implementing policies that encourage carbon sequestration in soil. The added benefits of carbon farming mean that more food can be produced with less pollution while building soil and sequestering carbon dioxide.

What are the benefits of carbon farming?

In addition to offsetting emissions, carbon farming practices have the added benefits of restoring degraded soils, enhancing crop production, and reducing pollution by minimizing erosion and nutrient runoff, purifying surface and groundwater, and increasing microbial activity and soil biodiversity.

What is cover crop?

Cover crops are grown during the off-season instead of leaving croplands bare. Continuous monocultures are replaced by high diversity crop rotations and integrated farming practices. Intensive use of chemical fertilizers is replaced by integrated nutrient management and precision farming.

What are the barriers to changing the agricultural system?

We have the science and technology; the real barriers to changing our agricultural system are economic, social, and political barriers.

How does photosynthesis affect plants?

When plants photosynthesize, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. When they die, this carbon is either released back into the atmosphere or it is stored for long periods of time in the soil. Many conventional agriculture practices result in the release of carbon, while practices classified under carbon farming aim to do …

How can we increase soil carbon stocks?

Integration of practices that can increase soil carbon stocks include maintaining land cover with vegetation (especially deep-rooted perennials and cover crops), protecting the soil from erosion (using reduced or no tillage), and improving nutrient management.

What are the sources of CH4 emissions?

As previously discussed, enteric and manure fermentation are the sources of livestock CH 4 emissions. These two sources are affected by different factors and carry different levels of uncertainties. The U.S. EPA estimated 95% confidence interval lower and upper uncertainty bounds for agricultural GHG emissions at –11% and +18% (CH 4 emissions from enteric fermentation) and –18% and +20% and –16% and +24% (CH 4 and N 2 O emissions from manure management, respectively; U.S. EPA 2018). Whereas emissions from enteric fermentation are relatively well studied and predictable, there is larger uncertainty regarding manure CH 4 emissions and net effects of different intensities and types of grazing (see also Ch. 10: Grasslands ). Large datasets have established CH 4 emissions from enteric fermentation at 16 to19 g per kg dry matter intake for dairy cows (higher-producing cows have lower emissions per unit of feed intake) to 21 to 22 g per kg dry matter intake for beef cows on pasture (Hristov et al., 2013b). Levels of manure CH 4 emissions, however, largely depend on the type of storage facility, duration of storage, and climate (Montes et al., 2013). Emissions from certain dairy manure systems (e.g., flush systems with settling ponds and anaerobic lagoons) can be higher than estimates used by current inventories. So-called top-down approaches have suggested that livestock CH 4 emissions are considerably greater than EPA inventories. Miller et al. (2013) and Wecht et al. (2014) proposed that livestock CH 4 emissions may be in the range of 12 to 17 Tg per year, which is roughly 30% and 85% greater than EPA’s estimate for 2012 (U.S. EPA 2016). Thus, future research is needed to address these discrepancies and reconcile top-down and bottom-up estimates.

How does biofuel affect carbon?

A biofuel ’s carbon footprint depends on the feedstock and its associated management as well as the efficiency of the eventual energy produced from the feedstock. Changes in the management of these social and economic factors can affect soil carbon sequestration and storage and agricultural GHG emissions.

What are the most important perennial crops?

The most extensive perennial systems in North America are grasslands, pasture, and hayed lands (see Ch. 10: Grasslands ). Other perennial crops (i.e., crops growing and harvested over multiple years) of regional importance include tree crops (mostly fruit and nuts) and vineyards. Because many perennial fruit, nut, and vegetable systems generally are intensively managed, the type of management—such as cover crops and intercropping, irrigation and tillage, fertilizer use, and intensity of cultural activities—largely determines the carbon balance of these production systems. Additionally, biofuel feedstock crops, including perennial grasses and short-rotation woody crops, occupy a very small percentage of agricultural land area, but they have the potential to either sequester carbon or create a carbon debt, depending on the system and land use that the system replaced (e.g., Adler et al., 2007, 2012; Mladenoff et al., 2016). Although differences in net carbon and GHG balance do exist, perennial bioenergy crops generally increase soil carbon in lands converted from annual crops because belowground carbon allocation (to roots) increases once the crops are established, even though the biomass is harvested for energy (Anderson-Teixeira et al., 2013; Valdez et al., 2017). However, managing perennials as biofuel crops often requires additional nitrogenous fertilizer, which can increase nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions and reduce the associated mitigation potential (Johnson and Barbour 2016; see Ch. 3: Energy Systems ).

How are carbon budgets affected by human decisions?

Agricultural regional carbon budgets and net emissions are directly affected by human decision making. Trends in food production and agricultural management, and thus carbon budgets, can fluctuate significantly with changes in global markets, diets, consumer demand, regional policies, and incentives ( very high confidence).

What is CO2E?

1 Excludes emissions related to land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. 2 Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO;2e): Amount of CO;2 that would produce the same effect on the radiative balance of Earth’s climate system as another greenhouse gas, such as methane (CH4) or nitrous oxide (N;2O), on a 100-year timescale.

What is the net result of multiple fluxes?

Agricultural land carbon storage and loss are the net result of multiple fluxes including plant photosynthetic uptake (i.e., atmospheric CO 2 capture by plants), ecosystem respiratory loss (i.e., carbon released as CO 2 from plants and soil organisms), harvested biomass removal either by grazing or cutting, input from additional feeds, enteric methane (CH 4) production by livestock, and the return of manure by grazing animals or addition of manure or other carbon-rich fertilizer amendments to agricultural lands.

What is industrial agriculture?

v. t. e. Industrial agriculture is a form of modern farming that refers to the industrialized production of crops and animals and animal products like eggs or milk. The methods of industrial agriculture include innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies …

What are the economic liabilities of industrial agriculture?

Economic liabilities for industrial agriculture include the dependence on finite non-renewable fossil fuel energy resources, as an input in farm mechanization (equipment, machinery), for food processing and transportation, and as an input in agricultural chemicals.

What is organic farming?

Organic farming methods combine some aspects of scientific knowledge and highly limited modern technology with traditional farming practices; accepting some of the methods of industrial agriculture while rejecting others. Organic methods rely on naturally occurring biological processes, which often take place over extended periods of time, and a holistic approach; while chemical-based farming focuses on immediate, isolated effects and reductionist strategies.

What are the three main goals of sustainable agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability , and prosperous farming communities .

What are the challenges and issues of industrial agriculture?

The challenges and issues of industrial agriculture for global and local society, for the industrial agriculture sector, for the individual industrial agriculture farm, and for animal rights include the costs and benefits of both current practices and proposed changes to those practices.

How does agriculture affect the environment?

Industrial agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy, and industrial chemicals; increasing pollution in the arable land, usable water and atmosphere. Herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, and animal waste products are accumulating in ground and surface waters.

What was the agricultural revolution?

The British agricultural revolution describes a period of agricultural development in Britain between the 16th century and the mid-19th century, which saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn supported unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, and thereby helped drive the Industrial Revolution. How this came about is not entirely clear. In recent decades, historians cited four key changes in agricultural practices, enclosure, mechanization, four-field crop rotation, and selective breeding, and gave credit to a relatively few individuals.

What is carbon shorthand for?

Carbon has become shorthand for greenhouse gases – a range of natural gases and particles – usually water vapour and carbon dioxide, including dust. Find out more about current legislation and the goals set by government to reduce emissions.

What is the GWP100 for methane?

A timeframe of 100 years ( GWP100) is currently the most common method used to calculate emissions of GHGs. The GWP100 value for methane is 28, meaning that methane has 28x more global warming potential than CO 2 . Nitrous oxide has a GWP100 value of 298, meaning it has 298x the warming potential of CO 2.

What is the GWP100 value of nitrogen oxide?

Nitrous oxide has a GWP100 value of 298, meaning it has 298x the warming potential of CO 2. However, there is debate among scientists as to whether the use of GWP100 misrepresents the impact that “ short-lived ” GHGs, like methane, have on the Earth’s climate.

How much carbon dioxide does the US emit?

Currently, the United States emits about 6 billion metric tons (tonnes) of carbon dioxide plus about 1 million more carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2 e) in other gases. Within the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. emissions were to be reduced to 7 percent below the 1990 levels of $6.2 billion by 2008–2012.

How many acres do you need to farm a cropland?

A contract of that size would require a cropland farmer to have about 25,000 acres, making this option impractical because few farmers have that much acreage. A practical alternative for most producers involves the use of an aggregator, which is an entity that pools, or aggregates, producers.

How long does a crop contract last?

Contracts run on a 5-year period for crop production and/or rangeland management projects. After the 5 years, producers are free to renew the contract for another 5 years or let the contract expire. There is no limit on the number of times the landowner can renew his/her contract.

What is the element carbon?

Encyclopedic Entry. Vocabulary. Carbon is an element that is essential to all life on Earth. Carbon makes up the fats and carbohydrates of our food and is part of the molecules, like DNA and protein, that make up our bodies. Carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, is even a part of the air we breathe. It is also stored in places like the ocean, …

How do plants absorb carbon dioxide?

As plants photosynthesize, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When plants die, the carbon goes into the soil, and microbes can release the carbon back into the atmosphere through decomposition. Forests are typically carbon sinks, places that absorb more carbon than they release. They continually take carbon out …

What is the meaning of carbon dioxide?

carbon dioxide. Noun. greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels. carbon sink. Noun. area or ecosystem that absorbs more carbon dioxide than it releases. carbon source.

What is the definition of fossil fuel?

Noun. process , area, or ecosystem that releases more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. decomposition. Noun. separation of a chemical compound into elements or simpler compounds. fossil fuel. Noun. coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.

What is the process of turning water into carbon dioxide?

Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals. photosynthesis. Noun. process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars.

How does raising cattle affect the atmosphere?

Raising cattle for food also releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. These processes that release carbon into the atmosphere are known as carbon sources. Ideally, the carbon cycle would keep Earth’s carbon concentrations in balance, moving the carbon from place to place and keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide levels steady.

What is the name of the process in which carbon atoms circulate through Earth’s land, ocean, and

Photograph by Bruce Dale. atmosphere. Noun. layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body. carbon cycle. Noun. series of processes in which carbon (C) atoms circulate through Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and interior. carbon dioxide. Noun.


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