RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

FAO: Agro greenhouse gas to increase 30%

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Staff writer ▼ | April 17, 2014
New FAO estimates of greenhouse gas data show that emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could increase an additional 30 percent by 2050.
Agro greenhouse gas
Agro greenhouse gasNew FAO estimates of greenhouse gas data show that emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could increase an additional 30 percent by 2050.


For the first time FAO has released own global estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), contributing to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Agricultural emissions from crop and livestock production grew from 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 eq) in 2001 to over 5.3 billion tonnes in 2011, a 14 percent increase. The increase occurred mainly in developing countries, due to an expansion of total agricultural outputs.

Meanwhile, net GHG emissions due to land use change and deforestation registered a nearly 10 percent decrease over the 2001-2010 period, averaging some 3 billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr over the decade. This was the result of reduced levels of deforestation and increases in the amount of atmospheric carbon being sequestered in many countries.

FAO's data based on country reports show that while those emissions continue to increase, they are not growing as fast as emissions from fossil fuel use in other sectors, so the share of AFOLU out of total anthropogenic emissions is actually decreasing over time.

The largest source of GHG emissions within agriculture is enteric fermentation - when methane is produced by livestock during digestion and released via belches - this accounted in 2011 for 39 percent of the sector's total GHG outputs.

Emissions from enteric fermentation increased 11 percent between 2001 and 2011. Emissions generated during the application of synthetic fertilizers accounted for 13 percent of agricultural emissions (725 Mt CO2 eq.) in 2011, and are the fastest growing emissions source in agriculture, having increased some 37 percent since 2001.

Greenhouse gases resulting from biological processes in rice paddies that generate methane make up 10 percent of total agricultural emissions, while the burning of savannahs accounts for 5 percent. In 2011, 44 percent of agriculture-related GHG outputs occurred in Asia, followed by the Americas (25 percent), Africa (15 percent), Europe (12 percent), and Oceania (4 percent), according to FAO's data.

This regional distribution was fairly constant over the last decade. In 1990 however, Asia's contribution to the global total (38 percent) was smaller than at present, while Europe's was much larger (21 percent).

he new FAO data also provide a detailed view of emissions from energy use in the agriculture sector generated from traditional fuel sources, including electricity and fossil fuels burned to power agricultural machinery, irrigation pumps and fishing vessels. These emissions exceeded 785 million tonnes of CO2 eq. in 2010, having increased by 75 percent since 1990.


 

MORE INSIDE POST