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What is the cost of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture?

Date:
April 5, 2016
Source:
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Summary:
Researchers have studied the advantages of reducing greenhouse gases in croplands of a region in Spain. Results will allow researchers to make progress in the regional knowledge to reduce costs and emissions that could be achieved with slight changes in crop and soil management. These results can be extended to other scenarios with similar conditions to the study case.
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Exploring strategic SOC management for mitigation in NE Spain.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Two researchers from School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) together with other European experts have studied the advantages of reducing greenhouse gases in croplands of a region in Spain. Results will allow researchers to make progress in the regional knowledge to reduce costs and emissions that could be achieved with slight changes in crop and soil management. These results can be extended to other scenarios with similar conditions to the study case.

Mitigation policies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture are periodically renegotiated and need to include regional results. Soil management has a great potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration. Many practices are based on extensive agronomic and technical knowledge with proven benefits for farmers and the environment.

However, there are limitations in the policy development process because, firstly, there are agricultural activities based on biological processes and such practices are determined according to its location, weather, soil and type of crop. Secondly, agriculture sustains rural communities thus, the cost and potentials for its implementation need to be assessed at regional level. Besides, the added regional potential of the combined usage of these practices has to be set in order to meet the commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

This study, which was carried out in Aragón (Spain), provides regional information about the links between climate change mitigation and economics of sustainable agricultural management. The researchers of UPM, who also belong to the Research Centre for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks (CEIGRAM), believe that it is required to answer three important questions when applying mitigation practices: Are they cost-effective for farmers? Do they reduce greenhouse emissions? What policies can help their implementation? This study has tackled these questions in three sequential steps.

Firstly, the spatial context at regional level in Europe was presented through a mapping on the usage of the most representative mitigation practices for soil management. Secondly, the potential cost-effectiveness of these practices was estimated by determining the marginal abatement cost curve (MAC curve) in a case study in the Mediterranean (Aragón, Spain). Finally, the assessment was completed with a debate of possible options by linking scientific results with the regional policy of mitigation.

The MAC curve gives priority to the management practices of different crops according to its annual mitigation potential (x-axis) and cost (y-axis). The y-axis shows the change in gross margin, thus practices below zero actually indicate an increase in gross margin or cost savings.

The x-axis indicates the annual abatement potential per crop up-scaled for the entire case study region, and since the practices are considered additive, the cumulative abatement is accounted for as the combined uptake.

Results show that soil management practices can be attractive from an economic point of view for the Mediterranean farmers and at the same time achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gases emissions.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Sánchez, A. Iglesias, A. McVittie, J. Álvaro-Fuentes, J. Ingram, J. Mills, J.P. Lesschen, P.J. Kuikman. Management of agricultural soils for greenhouse gas mitigation: Learning from a case study in NE Spain. Journal of Environmental Management, 2016; 170: 37 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.01.003

Cite This Page:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "What is the cost of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160405093926.htm>.
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. (2016, April 5). What is the cost of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160405093926.htm
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. "What is the cost of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160405093926.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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