Complete Shift to Organic Farming Could Intensify Global Warming: Study – The Weather Channel

Posted: October 28, 2019 at 10:45 pm


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Harvest at the Kerala Secretariat as part of the governments organic farming initiative titled Onathinu Oru Muram Pachakkari.

A wave of organic farming swept the globe in the late 20th century. Numerous environmentalists and agricultural experts have been promoting a shift to organic farming owing to multiple health and environmental benefits. However, in a new study, a group of scientists from the United Kingdom have proved some unexpected, undesirable outcomes of a drastic shift to organic farming.

The study says that 100% adaptation of organic food production can lead to a nett increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 times the current levels.

Guy Kirk from the Cranfield University and three other scientists conducted an assessment of changes in greenhouse gas emissions if England and Wales transformed its agriculture to 100% organic. The study was published in the reputed journal Nature Communications on Tuesday. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are known to trap heat resulting in a net warming effect on the planet, worsening ongoing climate crisis.

The results of the study do confirm that the direct GHGs emissions would be reduced with a shift to organic farming. However, when the increased land-use is factored in to compensate for the loss of food production, net emissions would be much higher. The researchers also warn that most of the land needed to make up for the shortfall of agricultural products will be outside the UK. They estimate that the area of overseas land required to compensate for the decreased production would be nearly five times the present.

Direct GHG emissions are reduced with organic farming, but when increased overseas land use to compensate for shortfalls in domestic supply are factored in, net emissions are greater. Enhanced soil carbon sequestration could offset only a small part of the higher overseas emissions, says the study.

The study found that the GHGs emissions would fall by 20% from crops and 4% from livestock if a complete shift to organic farming takes place. However, compared to conventional farming, the drop in agricultural production could be as high as 40%. The researchers argue that instead of organic farming, a shift to reduced meat consumption could be more beneficial in terms of reduced GHGs emissions.

Ultimately it is unlikely that there exists any single optimal approach to achieving environmentally sustainable food production, concludes the study.

The Weather Companys primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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Complete Shift to Organic Farming Could Intensify Global Warming: Study - The Weather Channel

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October 28th, 2019 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Organic Food