Declining greenhouse gas emissions from European cropland could compensate for up to 7% of annual agricultural emissions from the region, according to a new study analyzing the carbon uptake potential of soil. However at global scale, indirect effects could offset significant parts of these emission savings.
A new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change projects that carbon sequestration in European cropland could store between 9 and 38 megatons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) per year in the soil, or as much as 7% of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the European Union, at a price of carbon of 100 $/tCO2.
©tuk69tuk | Dollar Photo Club
“However, if strict emission reduction targets are only adopted inside Europe, efforts within the EU to reduce emissions could lead to increased emissions in other parts of the world, which could significantly compromise emission reductions at global level” says IIASA researcher Stefan Frank, who led the study.
In order to reach the EU goals on climate change, mitigation measures will be needed across many sectors. This research focuses on the agriculture piece of that puzzle.
The world’s soils contain the third largest stock of carbon, after oceans and the geological pool, which includes rocks and fossil fuels. Any disturbance of soils, for example through inappropriate management or land use change could therefore release significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Good management practices, on the other hand, can significantly reduce emissions.
The study shows that a carbon tax only within Europe could cause some part of European agricultural production to be reallocated outside Europe. Consequently, emissions outside Europe would increase, thereby partly offsetting the emission reductions inside Europe, a problem known as emissions leakage.
“In the context of the upcoming climate summit in Paris which will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, this study provides a piece in the mosaic of information the negotiators need to achieve a feasible but still effective deal in line with other development objectives,” says IIASA researcher Petr Havlik, who leads the GLOBIOM modeling team.
This study is a collaborative effort between IIASA, BOKU and the University of Hamburg. In particular BOKU researcher Erwin Schmid provided detailed information about carbon sequestration potential in EU cropland by means of the Environmental Policy Integrated Model (EPIC), which is used to understand crop management systems and their effects on the environment.
IIASA in collaboration with University of Hamburg (Uwe Schneider) then implemented this information into the Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM), which is used to assess impacts on land use, trade, and emissions on regional and global scales and carried out the economic assessment.
Starting from a baseline scenario for future population and economic growth, the researchers then examined different scenarios in which the carbon price was varied inside Europe thereby mimicking emission reduction targets for the agricultural sector.
Given the remaining uncertainties, the small mitigation potential at carbon prices below 100 $/tCO2 and the potential leakage effects, the researchers conclude that carbon sequestration on European cropland will probably not contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and should therefore be accompanied by additional mitigation efforts. As the latest IPCC AR5 report points out, a substantial decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century would be needed to keep the 2 degree target within reach.
Frank S, Schmid E, Havlik P, Schneider UA, Bottcher H, Balkovic J, Obersteiner M, (2015). Global Environmental Change 35, 269-278. Doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.08.004
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at
MSc Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences