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How to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint

The EU 2030 climate target requires a considerable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from society, including the agricultural sector. Agriculture contributes about 20 percent of the total Danish greenhouse gas emissions when measured in terms of their global warming potentials. It is, however, possible to reduce the emissions, as shown in a new report from DCA – Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture at Aarhus University.

The report provides an overview of the potentials, effects and barriers for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from agriculture up to 2030 by five initiatives related to biogas, manure management technologies, animal husbandry, nitrogen management and area-related measures. It is also possible to affect agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by changing production systems. Precision agriculture, conservation agriculture and organic farming are possible ways of reducing emissions. Read the report here (In Danish) or an English summary here.

Denmark’s commitment to reducing CO2 emissions

In an agreement with the European Union, Denmark has committed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 80 – 95 per cent in 2050. In this context, the agricultural sector has reduced annual emissions by three million tonnes since 1990. Today greenhouse gas emissions amount to approximately 10 million tonnes annually.
The sector still has a long way to go, which is why the government has allocated EUR 12 million over a three-year period to research on how to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint. If the Danish agriculture sector implemented the methods mentioned in the report, current CO2 emissions would be reduced to 1.70 – 2.75 million tonnes by 2030. In percentage terms this would amount to 10 – 12 per cent of current emissions by 2030.

Source: State of Green & Aarhus University
Photo: Fødevarefortællingen