Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Climate change: Mitigation

Climate mitigation mitigation involves actions aimed at limiting the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This may consist in reducing anthropogenic emissions or by increasing the capacity of carbon sinks. Food systems contribute some 20-30% of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts will need to be addressed if substantial global climate change mitigation is to be achieved. In agriculture, management and breeding methods for mitigation of climate change are being developed for all regions. However, not only technological change, but also changes in demand (away from emission intensive foods such as meat and dairy), and in enabling socio-economic structures and the governance framework will influence the amount of GHGs emitted in the future. In the food system, there is scope to develop new practices which deliver multiple win-wins – for example, that function both as climate change adaptation and as mitigation strategies (e.g. climate resilient crops that also bind more carbon in the soil) or that deliver non environmental benefits – for example where shifts to lower environmental impact diets also improve nutritional wellbeing.

24 March 2017

The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (e.g. a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise.   It reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.  

Image credit: with wind, 400kcal diet, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 March 2017

This paper looks at link between diets, health and climate and particularly the effects of adopting healthier diets in the US on the risk of disease, health care costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

28 February 2017

In a recent public survey commissioned by the Global Food Security (GFS) programme, many British adults say they recognise that the food system is a key contributor to climate change and that they would change their diets to avoid negative future climate impacts.

28 February 2017

This report details the methodology used to create a new online tool which can help companies set science-based emission targets and incorporate land-use change into their mitigation strategies. It is part of the Science Based Targets initiative run by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

15 February 2017

The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit (FCCT) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support UK farmers in adopting Carbon Farming techniques. This approach aims to minimise carbon emissions and maximise carbon sequestration on farms, particularly in soils.

31 January 2017

The German Development Institute along with the African Centre for Technology Studies,the Stockholm Environment Institute, and the UNFCCC secretariat have developed a new tool to compare the 163 existing national climate action plans.

31 January 2017

This paper examines high-resolution, crop-specific GHG emissions and GHG intensity estimates which are derived using a method that couples biophysical models with novel 5-arc-minute resolution data.

Photo credit: Till Westermayer, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
19 December 2016

This paper in Nature addresses the question of whether a warming planet leads to increased CO2 emissions through heightened activity by soil microbes. It finds that this positive feedback mechanism exists and is likely to be of great importance in the future global carbon budget.

Photo credit: Micolo J, Flickr, Creative Commons License
19 December 2016

This editorial piece in Environmental Research Letters highlights the fact that, as opposed to CO2 emissions, those of the powerful greenhouse gas methane are currently rising faster than at any point in the last twenty years. Around two-thirds of global emissions of methane are attributable to anthropogenic activities, with agriculture and related land use change identified as a main culprit.

Photo credit: Dean McCoy, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 December 2016

In this article co-written by FCRN member Erasmus zu Ermgassen, the authors use what they call a holistic approach (described below) to estimate the GHG emissions savings from preventing UK household food waste. In particular, they include the consideration of a potential rebound effect: the GHG emissions that result from money saved (because of reduced food waste) being spent elsewhere.

Photo credit: Nicola, Clouds, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

Nitrification inhibitors are thought to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of nitrous oxide — a potent greenhouse gas — from land. However, they may not be as effective as once thought, a new study suggests. The researchers found that, while inhibitors decrease emissions of nitrous oxide, they can increase emissions of ammonia — which is later converted to nitrous oxide. They recommend these effects are considered when evaluating inhibitors as a mitigation technology.’

22 November 2016

The summary of key messages and full reports from the 1.5 Degrees conference which was held between 20-22 September 2016 in Oxford have now been published.

Photo credit: Lorraine, BEST of SHOW March 2010 - Oregon Society of Artists - Field Burning, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
22 November 2016

One of the greatest challenges of this century is figuring out how to feed more people, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, just as other demands on land - for example, for sequestration and bioenergy production - are increasing. 

Photo: Susanne Nilsson, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
17 November 2016

This report highlights the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector and how, in the future, this is increasingly threatening food security for millions. The report states that meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide – which is of course a major challenge. 

Photo credit: Sam Beebe, Cows n Canoe, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
3 November 2016

A chance discovery was made in Canada 11 years ago, when it was observed that cattle in a paddock near the sea are more productive. This led to research showing that feeding cows seaweed not only helped improve their health and growth, but also reduced their enteric methane emissions by about 20%.

Photo credit: ItzaFineDay, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
2 November 2016

Researchers at CGIAR/CCAFS have written a report about different demand side measures aimed at changing food consumption so as to reduce GHG emissions. In particular, they placed their analysis in the context of the Paris climate agreement which aims to limit the increase of global temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change to below 2ºC.

Photo credit: Stacey, Hurricane Francis, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
24 October 2016

Governments meeting in Bangkok have given a green light to the production of a new IPCC special report to assess the feasibility of achieving a 1.5˚C goal. The report is due to be completed on in 2018 and will also look at the likely impacts of a 1.5˚C temperature rise.

18 October 2016

This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.

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