The Guardian: “Intensive farming worldwide threatens Paris local weather accord …”

The Guardian: “Intensive farming worldwide threatens Paris climate accord …”

A farmer in Malawi checks her maize crop that is struggling as a result of the worst drought in three decades. CREDIT Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the Guardian, agricultural fixation on providing high yield affordable food, instead of paying more attention to GHG emissions associated with farming, is endangering the Paris Climate Accord.

Intensive farming worldwide threatens Paris climate accord, report says

Rising emissions of nitrous oxide from farming are putting world on track to exceed 2C heating

Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Thu 8 Oct 2020 02.13 AEDT

The spread of intensive farming is threatening to jeopardise the world’s chances of meeting the terms of the Paris agreement on the climate crisis, as the increasing use of artificial fertiliser and growing populations of livestock are raising the concentration of a key greenhouse gas to levels far beyond those seen naturally.

Nitrous oxide is given off by the overuse of artificial fertilisers, and by organic sources such as animal manure, and has a heating effect 300 times that of carbon dioxide. Levels of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere are 20% higher than in pre-industrial times, with most of that increase coming from farming.

Emissions of nitrous oxide are growing at a rate of 1.4% a year, outstripping the forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and left untrammelled would put the world on track to exceed the 2C warming limit set under the Paris agreement, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.Emissions from 13 dairy firms match those of entire UK, says reportRead more

Hanqin Tian, a professor at Auburn University in the US and lead author of the study, said: “The dominant driver of the increase comes from agriculture and the growing demand for food and feed for animals will further increase global nitrous oxide emissions. There is a conflict between the way we are feeding people, and stabilising the climate.

“We have the tools to reduce this problem,” said Parvadha Suntharalingam of the University of East Anglia, the co-author of the paper. “This is not insurmountable. But these practices need to be adopted more widely. We don’t have to sacrifice production, just make sure it is managed more carefully.

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The World Health Organization estimates 820 million people are medically malnourished.

Now finally, after decades of slow progress, intensive farming is finally on the rise. Continued facilitation of the widespread unrestricted application of nitrate fertiliser could be all the world needs to do, to ensure every one of those 820 million people one day receives enough to eat.

I’ll leave it to your imagination what I think of heartless climate activists who would even consider interfering with the only process which has ever shown a hope of feeding the hungry.

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