Beyond Kyoto, Aarhus, 6 March 2009
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Beyond Kyoto, Aarhus, 6 March 2009 AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE MITIGATION Nadia Scialabba Senior Environment Officer Climate influences agriculture Some facts Climate change is a challenge in the twenty-first century, also for food systems 1.4 billion ha for crop cultivation

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Beyond Kyoto, Aarhus, 6 March 2009

AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE MITIGATION

Nadia Scialabba

Senior Environment Officer


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Climate influences agriculture

Some facts

  • Climate change is a challenge in the twenty-first century, also for food systems

  • 1.4 billion ha for crop cultivation

  • more than 2.5 billion ha for pasture

  • 4 billion ha forested land (of which 5% plantations)

  • ~ 60% Earth surface

extreme precipitation ...

... extended drought periods

= less reliable rainfall


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Agriculture influences climate

Some facts

  • Agriculture, rural livelihoods, sustainable management of natural resources and food security are linked

  • Successful adaptation and mitigation responses can be achieved within the goals of World Food Summit, MDGs and UNFCCC

  • Agriculture, including forestry, emits ~ 32 % of global GHG:

  • 25 % CO2 , largely from deforestation

  • 50 % CH4, rice and enteric fermentation

  • > 75 % N2O, largely from fertilizers

Burning

Tillage

= destruction of soil organic matter

uncontrolled grazing


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Main mitigation strategies

  • Forestry:

    • Reduce deforestation and degradation of tropical forests (REDD)

    • Promote Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)

    • Conduct Forest Restoration (FR), including Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R)

  • Agriculture:

    • Improve agroforestry practices

    • Promote spatial and temporal integration of crop and livestock (e.g. rotations of crops and corall)

    • Enhance soil carbon sequestration via soil biomass restoration and reduced tillage


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Mitigation potential agriculture and forest

Global reductions potential in 2030 correspond to those needed to achieve stabilization of atmospheric concentrations between 450-550 ppm CO2, under a mid-range IPCC SRES





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Adaptation and mitigation synergies

  • Increase irrigation and fertilization to

    • maintain production in marginal semi-arid regions

    • enhance the ability of soils to sequester carbon

  • Under increased precipitation scenario, shift from fallow systems to continuous cultivation

  • Avoid deforestation, enhance forest management, agroforestry and practices conducive to soil carbon sequestration in agricultural soils

By adapting to climate change and climate variability –

a necessity to sustain food production –

agriculture can contribute to climate mitigation


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Agriculture and GHG reduction

(IPCC/AR4 recommendations)

  • Crop rotations and farming system design

  • Nutrient and manure management

  • Livestock management, pasture and fodder supply improvement

  • Maintaining fertile soils and restoration of degraded lands

  • Ecological and organic agriculture offers such a multi-targeted and multi-functional strategy

Currently available knowledge and technologies would be sufficient to counter GHG emissions of the entire agricultural and forestry sectors combined


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  • Albedo

  • Land Cover

  • Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR)

  • Leaf Area Index (LAI)

  • Biomass

  • Fire Disturbance

  • River discharge

  • Lake Levels

  • Ground Water

  • Water Use

  • Snow Cover

  • Glaciers and Ice Caps

  • Permafrost and Seasonably Frozen Ground

Relevant to forest mapping and carbon tracking

Terrestrial Essential Climatic Variables

  • ECV are 13 measurable terrestrial properties and attributes to monitor the physical, biological and chemical processes affecting climate

  • Identified by GCOS and endorsed by the UNFCCC. Recognized by GEO and official task of GEOSS.

  • The Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) is currently assessing the status of the development of standards for each ECV in the terrestrial domain


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Why terrestrial ECVs?

  • To monitor climate change and its effects

  • To implement and monitor effective adaptation and mitigation strategies

  • To implement and monitor policy and international agreements

  • To assess risk and vulnerability, water access, food production, food security, sustainable development

  • To model scenarios and analyze potential impacts of extreme events

  • To assess availability and manage resources

  • To understand the climate system (including atmospheric, hydrological, biogeochemical and energy balances) and especially, determine the effects of feedback or amplification mechanisms


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FAO datasets for GHG inventories

  • Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) includes data on forest and other areas, growing stock, biomass stock, Carbon stock, forest fires, wood removals



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FAO datasets for GHG inventories

AFRICOVER:

East Africa Module

To:

  • assess carbon sources and sinks

  • evaluate the potential for carbon sequestration

  • evaluate the potential for reducing emissions


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Conclusions (yes, we can)

  • From being a problem, agriculture can become a major solution in addressing climate change

  • Farming may be climate neutral, as 80% of agricultural emissions can be compensated by soil carbon sequestration through ecological/organic management

  • Market mechanisms should encourage local food supply chains and responsible consumption

  • Adequate financial mechanisms are required to encourage long-term investments in soil rehabilitation (e.g. multi-lateral system for climate-friendly farming?)


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Conclusions (yes, we must)

  • The Post-Kyoto mechanism must seriously address agriculture and relevant assessment methodologies

  • Beyond 2050, land-based mitigation from avoided deforestation, agroforestry and soil carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, necessary to stabilize emissions in the short term, would have largely reached their potential

  • This entails an urgent need to invest in the development of new green technologies and land management options that mitigate emissions of GHG while making agriculture carbon neutral


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Beyond Kyoto, Aarhus, 5-7 March 2009

For detailed info:

2008 Summit webpage: www.fao.org/foodclimate

Climate webpage: www.fao.org/climatechange

Organic webpage: www.fao.org/organicag


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