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
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.10.2017 | Life Sciences