Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation explored

Date:
July 16, 2013
Source:
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Summary:
Improving agricultural productivity could help cut greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, shows new research. But, sustainable farming methods are key.

Improving agricultural productivity sustainably could help cut greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
Credit: Copyright IIASA

Improving crop yields using sustainable methods could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 12% per calorie produced according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. At the same time, these changes could provide more food to people in need.

Agriculture and land use change contributed about 1/3 of total human greenhouse gas emissions in the past decade, through crop cultivation, animal production, and deforestation. By producing more food on less land, it may be possible to reduce these emissions, but this so-called intensification often involves increasing fertilizer use, which can lead to large emissions of nitrogen-containing gases that also contribute to global warming.

"The most efficient way to ensure sustainable intensification on the crop side is to rely on practices and technologies that are not more fertilizer-demanding, such as new varieties, improved rotations, integrated crop-livestock practices, and precision farming," says IIASA researcher Hugo Valin, who led the study.

The study's findings particularly apply to developing countries. In many cases farming in these countries is not as efficient as it could be, and so investing in better farming practices could lead to big benefits both in terms of food security and greenhouse gas emissions.

The study found that increasing livestock yields was more effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than increasing yields from crops that people eat. Overall, closing yield gaps by 50% for crops and 25% for livestock would lead to a 12% savings in greenhouse gas emission per calorie produced.

However, says Valin, "Increasing livestock yield is not as beneficial to food security as can be increase crop yield, just because meat and dairy are a small share of diets, especially in developing countries."

To conduct the study, Valin and colleagues explored scenarios using IIASA's GLOBIOM model. Scenarios are modeling tools for understanding the links between future policies, actions, costs, and outcomes -- in this case, scenarios allow researchers to look at future food production both from crops and livestock, greenhouse gas emissions, and the trade-offs and co-benefits of different pathways of crop yield improvement.

The new study also emphasizes the effects of increased food production on demand. All things being equal, more food availability leads to lower prices and therefore greater demand. That extra demand means that farmers will want to continue expanding, to produce even more food.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H Valin, P Havlík, A Mosnier, M Herrero, E Schmid, M Obersteiner. Agricultural productivity and greenhouse gas emissions: trade-offs or synergies between mitigation and food security? Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8 (3): 035019 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035019

Cite This Page:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. "Trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation explored." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716120017.htm>.
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. (2013, July 16). Trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation explored. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716120017.htm
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. "Trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation explored." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716120017.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins