Publication Abstracts

Tubiello et al. 2022

Tubiello, F., K. Karl, A. Flammini, J. Gutschow, G. Obli-Laryea, G. Conchedda, X. Pan, S.Y. Qiu, H.H. Heiðarsdóttir, N. Wanner, R. Quadrelli, L. Souza, P. Benoit, M. Hayek, D. Sandalow, E. Mencos Contreras, C. Rosenzweig, J. Rosero-Moncayo, P. Conforti, and M. Torero, 2022: Pre- and post-production processes increasingly dominate greehouse gas emissions from agri-food systems. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 14, no. 4, 1795-1809, doi:10.5194/essd-14-1795-2022.

We present results from the FAOSTAT agri-food systems emissions database, relative to 236 countries and territories and over the period 1990-2019. We find that in 2019, world-total food systems emissions were 16.5 billion metric tonnes (Gt CO2eq/yr), corresponding to 31% of total anthropogenic emissions. Of the agri-food systems total, global emissions within the farm gate $dash$ from crop and livestock production processes including on-farm energy use — were 7.2 Gt CO2eq/yr; emissions from land use change, due to deforestation and peatland degradation, were 3.5 Gt CO2eq/yr; and emissions from pre- and post-production processes — manufacturing of fertilizers, food processing, packaging, transport, retail, household consumption and food waste disposal — were 5.8 Gt CO2eq/yr. Over the study period 1990-2019, agri-food systems emissions increased in total by 17%, largely driven by a doubling of emissions from pre- and post-production processes. Conversely, the FAO data show that since 1990 land use emissions decreased by 25%, while emissions within the farm gate increased only 9%. In 2019, in terms of single GHG, pre- and post- production processes emitted the most CO2 (3.9 Gt CO2/yr), preceding land use change (3.3 Gt CO2/yr) and farm-gate (1.2 Gt CO2/yr) emissions. Conversely, farm-gate activities were by far the major emitter of methane (140 Mt CH4/yr) and of nitrous oxide (7.8 Mt N2O/yr). Pre-and post- processes were also significant emitters of methane (49 Mt CH4/yr), mostly generated from the decay of solid food waste in landfills and open-dumps. The most important trend over the 30-year period since 1990 highlighted by our analysis is the increasingly important role of food-related emissions generated outside of agricultural land, in pre- and post-production processes along food supply chains, at all scales from global, regional and national, from 1990 to 2019. In fact, our data show that by 2019, food supply chains had overtaken farm-gate processes to become the largest GHG component of agri-food systems emissions in Annex I parties (2.2 Gt CO2eq/yr). They also more than doubled in non-Annex I parties (to 3.5 Gt CO2eq/yr), becoming larger than emissions from land-use change. By 2019 food supply chains had become the largest agri-food system component in China (1100 Mt CO2eq/yr); USA (700 Mt CO2eq/yr) and EU-27 (600 Mt CO2eq/yr). This has important repercussions for food-relevant national mitigation strategies, considering that until recently these have focused mainly on reductions of non CO2 gases within the farm gate and on CO2 mitigation from land use change. The information used in this work is available as open data with DOI (Tubiello et al., 2021d). It is also available to users via the FAOSTAT database (FAO, 2021a), with annual updates.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Tubiello, F. and Karl, K. and Flammini, A. and Gutschow, J. and Obli-Laryea, G. and Conchedda, G. and Pan, X. and Qiu, S. Y. and Heiðarsdóttir, H. H. and Wanner, N. and Quadrelli, R. and Souza, L. and Benoit, P. and Hayek, M. and Sandalow, D. and Mencos Contreras, E. and Rosenzweig, C. and Rosero-Moncayo, J. and Conforti, P. and Torero, M.},
  title={Pre- and post-production processes increasingly dominate greehouse gas emissions from agri-food systems},
  journal={Earth Syst. Sci. Data},

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RIS Citation

ID  - tu05300j
AU  - Tubiello, F.
AU  - Karl, K.
AU  - Flammini, A.
AU  - Gutschow, J.
AU  - Obli-Laryea, G.
AU  - Conchedda, G.
AU  - Pan, X.
AU  - Qiu, S. Y.
AU  - Heiðarsdóttir, H. H.
AU  - Wanner, N.
AU  - Quadrelli, R.
AU  - Souza, L.
AU  - Benoit, P.
AU  - Hayek, M.
AU  - Sandalow, D.
AU  - Mencos Contreras, E.
AU  - Rosenzweig, C.
AU  - Rosero-Moncayo, J.
AU  - Conforti, P.
AU  - Torero, M.
PY  - 2022
TI  - Pre- and post-production processes increasingly dominate greehouse gas emissions from agri-food systems
JA  - Earth Syst. Sci. Data
VL  - 14
IS  - 4
SP  - 1795
EP  - 1809
DO  - 10.5194/essd-14-1795-2022
ER  -

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