Publication Abstracts

Tubiello et al. 2021

Tubiello, F., C. Rosenzweig, G. Conchedda, K. Karl, J. Gütschow, X. Pan, G. Griffiths Obli-Laryea, S. Qiu, J. De Barrios, A. Flammini, E. Mencos Contreras, L. Souza, R. Quadrelli, H. Heiðarsdóttir, P. Benoit, M. Hayek, and D. Sandalow, 2021: Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: Building the evidence base. Environ. Res. Lett., 16, no. 6, 065007, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ac018e.

New work was undertaken to improve global GHG emissions accounting from food systems both within and beyond the farm gate. Existing FAOSTAT emissions statistics for crops, livestock and land use processes were updated to 2018, while new estimates were added for emissions generated by energy use within the farm gate, domestic food transport and food waste disposal, with country detail and over the period 1990-2018. New results indicate that global emissions on agricultural land — corresponding to activities within the farm gate and associated land use change processes — were 10.3 GtCO2eq/yr in 2018, nearly twice those estimated for the IPCC 'agriculture sector'. Of this total, non-CO2 crop and livestock production activities contributed 5.2 GtCO2eq/yr, on-farm energy use contributed 1.0 Gt CO2eq/yr, land use related to drained peat soils added 0.9 Gt CO2eq/yr, and land use change from tropical deforestation and peatland fires contributed 3.2 Gt CO2eq/yr. On-farm fossil-fuel energy use was the second most important emission source within the farm gate, more than soil applications of synthetic fertilizers. Deforestation emissions related to food production decreased by nearly 1.5 Gt CO2eq/yr globally since 1990. Domestic food transport contributed 0.5 Gt CO2eq/yr in 2018, about equal to those generated by rice cultivation, while food waste disposal added another 1.0 Gt CO2eq/yr, nearly half of the methane produced by livestock in 2018. Together, we find that the conventional IPCC categories systematically underestimate the contributions of food systems to total anthropogenic emissions. With these new components, food systems contributed 11.7 Gt CO2eq/yr, or about one-quarter of global anthropogenic emissions. We estimated that including emissions from energy use in processing and supply chains would further increase the global share, to over 30%. These new data enrich the evidence base needed to inform mitigation actions throughout the entire food system.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Tubiello, F. and Rosenzweig, C. and Conchedda, G. and Karl, K. and Gütschow, J. and Pan, X. and Griffiths Obli-Laryea, G. and Qiu, S. and De Barrios, J. and Flammini, A. and Mencos Contreras, E. and Souza, L. and Quadrelli, R. and Heiðarsdóttir, H. and Benoit, P. and Hayek, M. and Sandalow, D.},
  title={Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: Building the evidence base},
  journal={Environ. Res. Lett.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - tu03300h
AU  - Tubiello, F.
AU  - Rosenzweig, C.
AU  - Conchedda, G.
AU  - Karl, K.
AU  - Gütschow, J.
AU  - Pan, X.
AU  - Griffiths Obli-Laryea, G.
AU  - Qiu, S.
AU  - De Barrios, J.
AU  - Flammini, A.
AU  - Mencos Contreras, E.
AU  - Souza, L.
AU  - Quadrelli, R.
AU  - Heiðarsdóttir, H.
AU  - Benoit, P.
AU  - Hayek, M.
AU  - Sandalow, D.
PY  - 2021
TI  - Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: Building the evidence base
JA  - Environ. Res. Lett.
VL  - 16
IS  - 6
SP  - 065007
DO  - 10.1088/1748-9326/ac018e
ER  -

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