Global estimates of potential mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture

Abstract

Technologies to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide within the agriculture sector were reviewed to estimate the global potential for mitigation of these radiatively active greenhouse gases. Our estimates of the potential reduction of radiative forcing by the agricultural sector range from 1.15-3.3 Gt C equivalents per year. Of the total potential reduction, approximately 32% could result from reduction in CO2 emissions, 42% of carbon offsets by biofuel production on 15% of existing croplands, 16% from reduced CH4 emissions and 10% from reduced emissions of N2O. Agriculture encompasses large regional differences in management practices and rates of potential adoption of mitigation practices. Acceptability of mitigation options will depend on the extent to which sustainable production will be achieved or maintained and benefits will accrue to farmers. Technologies such as no-till farming and strategic fertilizer placement and timing are now being adopted for reasons other than concern for climate change issues.

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Cole, C., Duxbury, J., Freney, J. et al. Global estimates of potential mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 49, 221–228 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009731711346

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  • agriculture
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • mitigation
  • nitrous oxide