Greenhouse gas targets will be missed unless policymakers take account of the potential impacts of climate change on food-related emissions.
This finding is according to a new report from the Sustainable Consumption Institute published on 3 July 2012.
Much emphasis is placed on decarbonising the energy system, yet the emissions associated with agriculture, particularly the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, are likely to be much more difficult to cut. Not only that, as climate change impacts become more severe over the coming decades, more fertiliser may need to be added just to achieve the same yields, which will further elevate levels of nitrous oxide. Because emissions are cumulative, this means that the harder it is to cut nitrous oxide emissions, the greater the efforts needed to curb the carbon dioxide emissions from energy for the same climate impact.
The new report, led by researchers within the Tyndall Centre at Manchester's School of Mechanical, Civil and Aerospace Engineering, developed suites of food-system scenarios to explore the triad of challenges relating to mitigation, adaptation and the growing demand for food. The work involved stakeholders from agriculture, retail and manufacturing as well as consumer focus groups. The report is launched to stakeholders and policymakers in London on 4 July and in Manchester on the 13 July.
Download the Report (available after 13 July)