Energy Efficiency

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Energy intensities and greenhouse gas emission mitigation in global agriculture

  • Uwe A. SchneiderEmail author
  • Pete Smith


Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions are closely linked. This paper reviews agricultural options to reduce energy intensities and their impacts, discusses important accounting issues related to system boundaries, land scarcity, and measurement units and compares agricultural energy intensities and improvement potentials on an international level. Agricultural development in recent decades, while increasing yields, has led to lower average energy efficiencies when comparing the 1960s and the mid 1980s. In the two decades thereafter, energy intensities in developed countries increased, but with little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Efficiency differences across countries in the year 2000 suggest a maximum improvement potential of 500 million tons of CO2 annually. If only below average countries would increase their energy efficiency to average levels of the year 2000, the resulting emission reductions would be below 200 million tons of CO2 annually.


Energy intensity Agriculture Greenhouse gas emissions Global mitigation potential Fertilizer efficiency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, Departments of Geosciences and EconomicsHamburg UniversityHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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