by Emily Boone
A new focus issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters explores the current state and near-term potential for improved quantification of agricultural greenhouse gases. Together the articles in this issue provide a vision for an improved system for quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in agriculture, with special attention to the needs of smallholder agriculture in developing countries.
The world’s population is growing rapidly: an estimated eight billion people by 2030, nine billion by 2050. Feeding the world sustainably requires balancing a growing population’s food and nutritional needs while limiting the greenhouse gases released by agriculture—a growing contributor to climate change. We cannot make informed decisions to achieve this balance without accurate data on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions at the local, national and international level.
Because developing countries must increasingly identify and report emissions to access climate financing incentives or carbon markets, an inability to produce accurate and consistent data eliminates potential revenue for countries that need it most. At the national level, countries with policies to reduce emissions and expand sustainable agriculture practices will only benefit if they can monitor these emissions.
The first set of articles in the special issue by N.J. Berry and C.M. Ryan, C. Lloyd et al., D. Lobell et al., L. Olander et al., D. Signor et al., A. M. Silva-Olaya et al., F. Tubiello et al., and T-G Vågen et al. synthesize the current state of GHG quantification methods and propose innovations for policy makers in developing countries who seek accurate and cost-effective methods to report on GHG stocks and emissions. These innovations include:
Together these articles demonstrate how targeted investments in improved soil carbon measurements, adaptation to climate change, improved GHG data systems, and low-cost GHG quantification methods could result in dramatic and quick improvements in GHG reductions, while also meeting global food needs.
The focus issue is sponsored by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Read More: Click here for a link to all the articles
Emily Boone is a Research Assistant with the CCAFS Theme on Pro-Poor Climate Change Mitigation, based at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont. Click to view more publications from this research theme.
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)