Agriculture emissions explained
Almost ¼ of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by agriculture. There are four categories to consider when looking at agriculture emissions:
Emissions in that category are produced from animals raised for meat, dairy and eggs, 31% of emissions are only caused during the on-farm ‘production’. They exclude land use, the supply chain processes and crop production for animal feed.
21% of food’s emissions are attributed to the crop production for direct human consumption, and 6% to the production of animal feed. Those emissions come from fertilizers (nitrous oxide), manure and methane for rice production. As well as CO2 from machinery.
The majority of emissions in this category are from land use for livestock (16%). 8% are attributed to crops for human consumption.
This category includes food processing, transport, packaging and retail, which require energy and resource inputs. Whilst supply chain emissions seem to be high, a lot of it is due to high food waste. Food waste emissions are substantial: one-quarter of emissions (3.3 billion tonnes of CO2eq) from food production ends up as wastage either from supply chain losses or consumers.
Professor Will Steffen, Dr Martin Rice, Professor Lesley Hughes and Dr Annika Dean. (2018). The good, the bad and the ugly: Limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. Climate Council of Australia Limited. Retrieved from https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/CC-IPCC-report-1.pdf
IPCC (2014). Climate change 2014: Mitigation of climate change. Contribution of Working Group III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3
Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 360(6392), 987-992
Gustavsson, G., Cederberg, C., Sonesson, U., Emanuelsson, A. (2013). The methodology of the FAO study: ‘Global food losses and food waste—extent, causes and prevention’ – FAO, 2011. Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) report 857, SIK.