Agriculture and Climate Change: Impacts, Effects

Table of Contents

Agriculture and Climate change have over the years proven to be intertwined. Climate change has adversely affected agriculture by reason of rises in temperature, excessive rainfall and atmosphere (e.g. heat waves); changes in pests and diseases; changes in the amounts of ambient carbon dioxide and ground ozone; changes in the nutritional content of some foods and changes in the level of the sea, severity, and frequency of severe weather events are added to the stress on global structures of agriculture and food.

Agriculture is now impacted by climate change, with impacts unevenly spread worldwide. Potential climate trends are more likely to adversely impact crop production in low-latitude countries negatively. Although the results may be positive or negative in northern latitudes, by greenhouse gas pollution, animal husbandry also leads to climate change.

With technical advancements such as improved varieties, genetically modified species, and irrigation systems, climate, as well as soil properties and natural communities, is still a crucial factor for agricultural production. Instead of global climate trends, the climate impact on agriculture is due to variations in local climates.

Agriculture accounts for a large share of greenhouse gases, 17 percent of gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change directly by farming practices, and an additional 7-14 percent by land-use shifts. Therefore, both of them are part of the question, and potentially an important part of the problem.

Nitrous emissions are the principal direct agricultural GHG emissions. Emissions of oxide from the soil, fertilizer, manure, and urine from grazing animals; and production of methane by ruminant animals and the production of paddy rice. Both of the substantially greater global warming of these gases Potential compared with carbon dioxide. Farmers’ self-initiated attempts to respond to climate change, although reducing agriculture’s GHG footprint, in spite of the complexities around it, it is unlikely to be adequate. The timing of climate changes the essence of it.

Agriculture is a potential contributor to overall green house gas (GHG) emissions with a share of approximately 24% (IPCC, AR5 to be released) of total anthropogenic emissions, and an increasing global population ensures that if food needs are to be fulfilled, agricultural production will stay high.

At the same time, there is a tremendous opportunity for carbon sinks in this area, including land usage, improvements in land use, and forestry. The continued growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has resulted in increased greenhouse impacts resulting in global warming and climate change.

Since 1970, GHG emissions globally have risen by around 75 percent. It is clear that the agricultural sector is growing in scale, but precisely how this impacts GHG pollution remains unclear, as are the mitigation opportunities. There is growing understanding within the scientific community that agriculture in general, and livestock production in particular, contribute significantly to GHG emissions (Bell et al. 2014; Bellary et al. 2013; Galloway et al. 2007 ).

As a result, the global agricultural society is committed to lowering pollution to protect the environment; as well, it must satisfy the demands of a rising human population and its increasing demands for high-quality and high-quantity food.

There is a need to increase agricultural productivity if we want to satisfy global needs for food resources and reduce the effect of agriculture on climate change. Therefore, quantifying the environmental consequences of agriculture is of major significance.

In the long-run, climate change could contribute to agriculture by;

  • In terms of the quantity and quality of crops, production.
  • Agricultural practices, through changes of water use (irrigation) and agricultural inputs such as herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.
  • Effects on the climate, particularly in relation to the frequency and severity of soil drainage (leading to leaching of nitrogen), soil erosion, reduction of crop diversity.
  • Via the loss and gain of cultivated land, land speculation, renunciation of land, and hydraulic facilities, rural space.
  • Organisms may become more or less competitive in adaptation, as well as human beings can develop motivation to develop more competitive environments, such as; salt-resistant or flood resistance.

There are significant uncertainties that need to be uncovered, especially because there is a scarcity of knowledge about many individual local areas, including uncertainties about the extent of climate change, the production impacts of technical developments, global food demands, and various adaptation possibilities.

Most agronomists agree that the magnitude and pace of climate change will mostly impact agricultural development, not so much as the steady changes of climate change. There could be ample time for biota adaptation if the transition is incremental.

However, rapid climate change in many countries could damage agriculture, particularly those already suffering from very poor soil and climate conditions. Agriculture and climate change must be measured and interpreted in a coherent and credible way.

Flaws in the estimation of the contribution of agriculture will contribute to confrontation, loss of confidence in research, and, ultimately, failure to act. Global awareness of the magnitude of the contribution of agriculture to GHG emissions is important, as is the quantification of how its contribution contrasts with that of other sources of emissions.

Typically, climate change is depicted as the bane of agriculture. Increased floods, drought, and stronger typhoons make it difficult for farmers to produce agricultural production than it already is. Farmers earn reduced yields and wages due to climate change, thereby adversely affecting market rates and burdening buyers.

Inherently, greenhouse gases (GHGs), which trap heat within the earth, are not evil because they help keep the earth warm enough to live for living beings. What is harmful is the excess GHG pollution that human activities produce. Although most people know that the use of fossil fuels and industrial development emit GHGs, others do not understand that agriculture is a significant contributor.

It is predicted that climate change will adversely impact both systems of development of crops and livestock in most countries, while some nations might actually take advantage of the changing situations. The changing climate is also contributing to the problems with energy, such as water shortages, pollution, and degradation of soil.

Agriculture and Climate Change: Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from Agriculture

Countries are gradually accepting agriculture’s contribution to climate change. Out of the 133 Nationally Defined Planned Commitments of the 160 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 103 are directed at minimizing agricultural GHG emissions.

The second highest emitter in 2011 was the agriculture sector. Around 10-12 percent of overall annual GHG emissions and 75 percent of global deforestation, mainly in developed countries, are expected to come from agriculture. Almost 315-627 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) are produced annually by Southeast Asia (SEA), with Indonesian agriculture as its main contributor (84-247 MtCO2e).

Generally speaking, livestock accounts for a substantial share of agricultural pollution. Around 40 percent of agricultural emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), came from methane emitted by livestock between 2001 and 2011, excluding emissions from manure (25 percent of agricultural emissions).

The use of synthetic fertilizers accounts for 13 percent of global agricultural emissions. By decomposing organic matter in the fields, rice paddy fields emit methane and contribute 10 percent to farming pollution. Some farming practices, such as wood burning for vegetation and sustainable soil production, produce lower concentrations of GHGs.

Agriculture and Climate Change: Lowering Agricultural Pollution

Mitigation does not inherently mean reducing crop activity to lessen GHG pollution. Food production could, in turn, be improved to feed the worldwide increasing population, which is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050. Without increasing GHG pollution, how do we guarantee food security? Climate-smart farming is one alternative (CSA).

According to the FAO, the three foundations of food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation define CSA. The CSA contributes to food protection by growing farmers’ yields in a sustainable way, thus fostering neighborhood resilience. In the SEA, the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program (CCAFS) funds a range of programs focused on reducing agricultural GHG emissions. Via the ‘Landscape Solution to Climate Change Mitigation in Agriculture’ project, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with Vietnam’s National Institute of Agricultural Planning and Prediction and the Institute of Agricultural Environment (IAE), is designing support mechanisms for CSA initiatives.

Researchers would identify future changes in the landscape and examine whether mitigation steps may be taken to improve production processes’ resilience. A groundbreaking strategy showcasing the co-benefits of mitigation choices will be built by a project led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),’ evaluating incentives for scaling up mitigation at various stakeholder levels:’ No-regret ‘mitigation strategies in rice development.’

The alternative wetting and drying (AWD) strategy would be incorporated into agricultural processes, reducing water consumption by 30 percent and methane emissions from rice production by 50 percent. This is in cooperation with Can Tho University, Cuu Long Rice Research Institute and IAE, who are Vietnamese institutions

Agriculture and Climate Change: Hand-in-Hand Mitigation and Adaptation

Clearly, agriculture should not only rely on responding to climate change but also on mitigating pollution. Adaptation is not adequate, as climate change may proceed without mitigation and will escalate if it continues business-as-usual. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Emission growth, driven by global population growth and economic activity, is expected to continue without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those currently in place.”

In tackling climate change in the present and the future, prevention, while sometimes ignored, can never be forgotten. IPCC AR5 researchers also agree that delays would indicate greater uncertainties in the long-term transition to low-emission practices and fewer alternatives that would allow temperatures below the threshold to be sustained.
Now is the time to search at solutions for prevention.

Agriculture is an important sector with a high potential to mitigate pollution levels and develop the sustainability of societies. To encourage adaptation, prevention and preservation, let’s reverse the dilemma and merge efforts.


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