Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe
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Climate mitigation by agriculture in Europe. Pete Smith. School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. Distribution of croplands globally. Distribution of croplands in Europe. Why croplands?.

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Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Climate mitigation by agriculture in Europe

Pete Smith

School of Biological Sciences,

University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Distribution of croplands globally


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Distribution of croplands in Europe


Why croplands

Why croplands?

  • European croplands (for Europe as far east as the Urals) lose 300 Mt C y-1 (Janssens et al., 2003)

  • Mean figure for the European Union estimated to be 78 (SD: 37) Mt C y-1(Vleeshouwers & Verhagen, 2002)

  • Largest biospheric source of carbon lost to the atmosphere in Europe each year

  • Highest uncertainty of all European fluxes

  • There is significant potential to decrease the flux of carbon to the atmosphere from cropland, and for cropland management to sequester soil carbon.


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

)

-1

600

A

land signal

400

European terrestrial C balance (Tg C a)

B

290

290

C

?

240

220

200

D

135

111

missing

fluxes

0

atmospheric signal

Carbon balance estimates

Croplands in the overall carbon balance of Europe

Cropland flux

Main figure from Janssenset al., Science 2003


Why croplands1

Why croplands?

  • European croplands (for Europe as far east as the Urals) lose 300 Mt C y-1 (Janssens et al., 2003)

  • Mean figure for the European Union estimated to be 78 (SD: 37) Mt C y-1(Vleeshouwers & Verhagen, 2002)

  • Largest biospheric source of carbon lost to the atmosphere in Europe each year

  • Highest uncertainty of all European fluxes

  • There is significant potential to decrease the flux of carbon to the atmosphere from cropland, and for cropland management to sequester soil carbon.


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Carbon fluxes in SOC in Europe (t C ha-1 y-1) in the 1st commitment period (business as usual scenario)

Using mean soil organic

carbon content minus S.D.

Using mean soil organic

carbon content

Using mean soil organic

carbon content plus S.D.

Vleeshouwers & Verhagen (2002)

Croplands

Grasslands


Why croplands2

Why croplands?

  • European croplands (for Europe as far east as the Urals) lose 300 Mt C y-1 (Janssens et al., 2003)

  • Mean figure for the European Union estimated to be 78 (SD: 37) Mt C y-1(Vleeshouwers & Verhagen, 2002)

  • Largest biospheric source of carbon lost to the atmosphere in Europe each year

  • Highest uncertainty of all European fluxes

  • There is significant potential to decrease the flux of carbon to the atmosphere from cropland, and for cropland management to sequester soil carbon.


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Can cropland GHG fluxes be reduced ?


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Options for combating the greenhouse effect on European agricultural land

  • More efficient use of animal manure

  • Application of sewage sludge

  • Return surplus cereal straw to the soil

  • Convert to no-till agriculture

  • Use surplus arable land to de-intensify production (extensification)

  • Use surplus arable land to plant woodland

  • Use surplus arable land to grow biofuels

Smith et al. (2000)


C sequestration potential

C sequestration potential

over 1st commitment period

Activityt C ha-1 yr-1Mt C yr-1

Conversion arable to grassland 1.92178.49

Zero till 0.29 26.69

Straw 0.21 19.85

Farmyard manure (10 ton ha-1) 1.47136.38

CO20.01 0.94

Temperature-0.06 -5.80

Vleeshouwers & Verhagen (2002)


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

6

70

5

60

50

4

40

-

3

Maximum Yearly C Mitigation Potential (Tg C y-1)

% Offset of 1990 European CO2 carbon emissions

30

2

20

1

10

0

0

Manure

Sludge

Straw

No-till

Woodland

Bioenergy

Extensification

Land Management Change

Carbon mitigation potential / CO2-C offsets

Smith et al. (2000)


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Combined land-management options

Europe’s 8% Kyoto target

9

110

100

8

90

7

80

6

70

5

60

Maximum Yearly C Mitigation Potential (Tg C y-1)

% Offset of 1990 European CO2 carbon emissions

50

4

40

3

30

2

20

1

10

0

0

Opt

E+S

B+S

B+O

E+O

W+S

E+NT

W+O

B+NT

W+NT

B+O+NT

E+O+NT

W+O+NT

Scenario

Smith et al. (2000)


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

What is meant by C sequestration potential ?

Maximum value

Minimum value

Carbon sequestration potential

Biological potential

Economically

constrained

potential

Socially / politically

constrained

potential - estimated

realistically achievable

potential (~10% of

biological potential)

Biologically / physically

constrained potential

(e.g. land suitability)

EU-15 can sequester up to 16-19 Mt C y-1 during the first commitment < 1/5 of theoretical potential ~ 2% of European anthropogenic emissions (Freibauer et al., 2004).

Smith (2004)


Carbon sequestration potential eu 15 cropland

Carbon sequestration potential (EU-15 cropland)

1 = Vleeshouwers & Verhagen (2002)

2 = Smith et al. (1997, 2000)

3 = Freibauer et al. (2004)

4 = Smith et al. (2004)


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Is C sequestration important in the long term?


Why use c sequestration

The energy / emission gap under different

SRES scenarios

Why use C sequestration?

  • Current yearly atmospheric C increase = 3.2 ± 0.1 Pg C y-1

  • Maximum yearly global C sequestration potential = 0.9 ± 0.3 Pg C y-1

  • Emission gaps here of up to 25 Pg C y-1 by 2100

IPCC TAR WGIII (2001)


So why use c sequestration

Critical period determining trajectory

So why use C sequestration?

IPCC (2001)


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

Importance of non-CO2 GHGs


Agricultural non co 2 ghg emissions in europe

Agricultural non-CO2 GHG emissions in Europe


Climate mitigation by agriculture in europe

6

70

= CO2-C alone

= CO2-C plus N2O and CH4

= CO2 only

= with trace gases

5

60

Some land-management practices are influenced by including trace gases

50

4

40

Maximum Yearly C Mitigation Potential (Tg C y-1)

3

% Offset of 1990 European CO2 Emissions

30

2

20

1

10

0

0

Straw

Extensification

Woodland

Bioenergy

Manure

Sludge

No-till

Land Management Change

C mitigation potential with and without trace gases

Smith et al. (2001)


Land use change potential size of effect

Land-use change – potential size of effect

SRES climate only

SRES-B2 plus convert

grassland to arable in 2000

Loss (2001-2100) of 37.7 t C ha-1 compared to B2 loss of 9.5 t C ha-1

due to climate change alone


Research priority areas

Research Priority Areas

  • Soil process studies in agriculture

  • Data / inventory collation and meta-analysis

  • Development of future land-use and land management scenarios

  • Coupling of the C & N cycles (with N-IP)

  • Assessment of total GHG budget (with N-IP)

  • Mitigation options

Overall aim: Quantify the carbon and GHG balance of European croplands for the 1990s, for the present, and in the future


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