Brazil may be able to curb up to 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation by encouraging the intensification of its cattle production, according to a new study from researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and international collaborators.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that by subsidizing semi-intensive pasture-based cattle production or taxing conventional pastures Brazil may be able to deliver a substantial cut in global greenhouse gas emissions, even in the absence of a global agreement to prevent deforestation.
Brazil is the world's second largest producer of beef and the world's largest exporter of beef. Cattle pastures occupy one quarter of the land surface in Brazil, including as much as 80% of recently deforested land. Brazil has lost more forestland than any other country in the past 20 years. Worldwide, deforestation contributes to as much as 20% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate policies are an investment for governments. One of the major concerns that governments have about making climate policies unilaterally is that the benefits will be canceled out by increased emissions in other countries,” says Tufts University researcher Avery Cohn, who led the study.
Previous studies of Brazilian agriculture have warned that policies to intensify cattle ranching could lower beef prices and increase beef consumption or raise beef prices and increase beef production. Either effect could drive more deforestation in other countries, canceling out any overall reduction in emissions.
“Our study shows that greenhouse gains from pasture intensification policies considerably exceed the losses. Brazil could act alone and still make a major dent in global greenhouse gas emissions,” says IIASA researcher Aline Mosnier, a co-author on the study, which Cohn started as a participant in IIASA’s Young Scientists Summer Program while completing his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.
The two policies—subsidizing more intensive cattle ranching or taxing conventional pastures would both reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by about 50% between 2010 and 2030. This would lead to a 25% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation during that time. Combining the two policies could provide a revenue-neutral way for the Brazilian government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The researchers expanded IIASA’s Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) to examine the effects of the two policies both within and beyond Brazil’s borders. GLOBIOM is an economic model of global land use, which is being applied to questions of agriculture, deforestation, and REDD policies around the world.
Previous work by IIASA researchers has shown that more efficient livestock production methods could be an effective method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, while improving food security. [http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/20140225-PNAS.html].
The new study was carried out in collaboration with Tufts University, the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) at the University of California, Berkeley, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), IIASA’s Australian National Member Organization, and University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in (BOKU) in Vienna.
Cohn AS, Mosnier A, Havlik P, Valin, H, Herrerro M, Schmid E, O’Hare M, Obersteiner M. (2014). Cattle ranching intensification in Brazil can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by sparing land from deforestation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1307163111
For more information please contact:
Assistant Professor; the Fletcher School
Director; Program in Agriculture and Forests, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy
+1 (510) 410-3731
Ecosystems Services and Management
+43(0) 2236 807 567
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316
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
Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Europeans have unknowingly contributed to the spread of invasive plant species in North America
01.07.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ
Darwin's finches have reached their limits on the Galápagos
23.06.2015 | University of Groningen
New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions
A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...
A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...
The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...
On June 23, the second Sentinel mission was launched from the space mission launch center in Kourou. A critical component of Aachen is on board. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Tesat-Spacecom have jointly developed the know-how for space-qualified laser components. For the Sentinel mission the diode laser pump module of the Laser Communication Terminal LCT was planned and constructed in Aachen in cooperation with the manufacturer of the LCT, Tesat-Spacecom, and the Ferdinand Braun Institute.
After eight years of preparation, in the early morning of June 23 the time had come: in Kourou in French Guiana, the European Space Agency launched the...
25.06.2015 | Event News
16.06.2015 | Event News
11.06.2015 | Event News
01.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
01.07.2015 | Materials Sciences
01.07.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation