How Does Agriculture Change Our Climate?


Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture reached an all-time high in 2014, and for the first time since 1960 may now outpace fossil fuel growth. The agriculture sector plays a key role in reducing global emissions to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. The short report highlights trends and the primary sources of agricultural emissions, as well as a few solutions already in practice.
In this report, we consider emissions from just part of the global food system: deforestation and agricultural management. The share of emissions from transportation of products in the global food supply chain, packaging, and food waste, for example, are important but not included here. When these activities are also considered, the global food system accounts for roughly 30 percent of global emissions.

Despite agriculture’s central role in changing the global climate, there are promising opportunities for mitigating emissions and reducing the demand for high-emissions food in the first place. Developing a global food system that both achieves food security and reduces agriculture’s environmental impact is one of the foremost challenges of our time.


Colombo B, West P, Smith P, Tubiello FN, Gerber J, Engstrom P, Urevig A, Wollenberg E. 2016. How Does Agriculture Change Our Climate? Environment Reports: Food Matters.