Demand, Supply, Sustainability and Security
Edited by Raghbendra Jha, Raghav Gaiha and Anil B. Deolalikar
Chapter 16: Emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture and their mitigation
As we move toward a global population of 9.5 billion people by 2050 (UNPD, 2013), land availability and natural resource use becomes an ever more critical issue. Even if the additional cropland needs for food production may remain limited, there are competing demands for non-food use, water, timber, energy, settlements, infrastructure, recreation and biodiversity (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012). Previous assessments of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigation potential in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors have not accounted explicitly for the impacts of mitigation actions on the other services provided by land, especially food production and food security repercussions (Smith and Gregory, 2013). Indeed, one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in coming decades is the need to feed a growing population while minimizing GHG emissions. The solution to both challenges must be met partly by changing the way we manage land. We also need to improve the resilience of food production to future environmental changes, protect biodiversity and freshwater resources, move to healthier diets and reduce the adverse impacts of food production on ecosystem functions (Easterling et al., 2007; FAO, 2011a). An additional challenge is represented by the increased demand for bio-energy from agricultural feed stocks. Recent higher energy prices and improved infrastructure have made a growing share of feed stocks competitive in the energy market.
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