- Food systems contribute an estimated 19 to 29 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
- Most of these emissions (80 to 86 percent) are released during the production phase.
- The relative contribution of global greenhouse gas emissions from food systems is highly variable depending on the region, country, sector, commodity, and production system.
- A sustainable food value chain system that are economically sustainable, profitable, and having a positive and neutral impact of environment is indispensable to reduce the carbon footprint.
- A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event, or product. It is calculated by summing the emissions resulting from every stage of a product or service’s lifetime starting from material production, manufacturing, use, to the end of its life.
- Throughout a product’s lifetime, or lifecycle, different greenhouse gases GHGs may be emitted, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), each with a greater or lesser ability to trap heat in the atmosphere.
Where do the emissions from our food come from?
Livestock and fisheries account for maximum amount of food emission (31%) s followed by the crop production with 27% emission, land use (24%) and supply chain (18%)’
According to a study published in Nature food, CO2 accounts for roughly half of the food related emissions while methane (CH4) mainly from livestock production, farming and waste treatment contributes 35% of total emissions.
Country’s share of emissions
Share of a country’s emissions that comes from its food system ranges from 14% to 92%. In industrialized countries, roughly 24% of the countries’ total emissions came from their food systems.
|Country||GtCO2e||% of global total|
However, the researchers find that the share of emissions that come from food in developing countries is decreasing. This is due to the very high increases in non-food emissions as well as a significant reduction in land-based emissions. Reduction in deforestation over the last few years has been another positive growth factor contributing to these declined emissions.
Does switching to plant-based diets solves the problem?
- Meat products have larger carbon footprints per calorie than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy.
- The methane is released from manure management and fermentation in ruminants.
- A vegetarian diet greatly reduces an individual’s carbon footprint but switching to less carbon intensive meats can have a major impact as well.
- With the raising concern among the people about the climatic change as a major threat and its effects in our lives as well as the environment, change in diet plans is necessary for reducing the carbon footprint.
- The pressure of feeding about 8 billion people in the whole world at the cost of detoriating climate and environmental condition has led experts to think over the alternatives that could be brought in the food systems and the supply chains to reduce its impacts on environment.
CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE – Creating a hope for clean energy Solutions.
- To ensure environment sustainability of food systems, the reduction of carbon footprint at different stages of food value chains is one of the key elements extremely important in climate smart agriculture.
- Developing sustainable food systems that are resilient to climate change is where the experts are focusing on, which will also have a reduced carbon footprint.
- Food system interventions for climate smart agriculture may include introduction and implementation of policies, investing in infrastructure, inputs, and services, provide training on best practices and encouraging behaviour change of producers and consumers.
- Among the main objectives of climate-smart agriculture, the sustainable increase of agricultural productivity and incomes can be achieved by adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reduce or remove greenhouse gases, where possible.