Agriculture and Climate Change | International Food Policy Research Institute
Agriculture and climate change are inextricably linked.
Agriculture is part of the climate change problem, contributing about 13.5 percent of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (with forestry contributing an additional 19 percent), compared with 13.1 percent from transportation. Agriculture is, however, also part of the solution, offering promising opportunities for mitigating GHG emissions through carbon sequestration, soil and land use management, and biomass production. ...
For more comprehensive perspectives on these issues, IFPRI’s (International Food Policy Research Institute) 2020 Vision Initiative approached leading experts around the world to share their views on the key negotiating outcomes that must be pursued now in order to effectively put agriculture on the climate change agenda.
From Brief 3: Reducing Methane Emissions from Irrigated Rice (pdf):
Changing water management appears to be the most promising mitigation option and is particularly suited to reducing emissions in irrigated rice production. Midseason drainage and intermittent irrigation reduce methane emissions by over 40 percent. Shallow flooding provides additional benefits, including water conservation and increased yields. A recent study estimates large potential for additional methane reductions from Chinese rice paddies through modifications of water-management strategies, even though midseason drying is widely practiced there.
From Brief 5: The Potential for Soil Carbon Sequestration (pdf)
Examples of soil and crop management technologies that increase soil carbon sequestration include
• no-till (NT) farming with residue mulch and cover cropping;
• integrated nutrient management (INM), which balances nutrient application with judicious use of organic manures and inorganic fertilizers;
• various crop rotations (including agroforestry);
• use of soil amendments (such as zeolites, biochar, or compost); and
• improved pastures with recommended stocking rates and controlled fire as a rejuvenate method. ...
The technical potential of carbon sequestration in world soils may be 2 billion to 3 billion mt per year for the next 50 years. Thus, the potential of carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation together is equivalent to a draw-down of about 50 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 by 2100.
From Brief 9: Synergies Among Mitigation, Adaptation, and Sustainable Development (pdf):
It has long been known that increasing soil organic matter content improves soil fertility, nutrient supply, soil structure, water-holding capacity, and a host of other vital soil functions. These functions increase the resilience of the soil under threat from future climate change. Soil carbon sequestration then is one of the clearest examples of a mitigation measure that also protects against changes in climate and enhances adaptation and the sustainability of crop production. Other examples include the application of animal manure to soils, which reduces fertilizer use and also improves soil structure and water-holding capacity; the reduction of tillage intensity with improved residue management, which can increase soil carbon while retaining soil moisture; and the restoration of degraded lands, which can sequester carbon and also enhance livelihoods and the resilience of the soils for sustaining agriculture under a changing climate.
Hat tip: Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog