Latin America doubled its agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the last 50 years

Latin America doubled its agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the last 50 years

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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture (crops and livestock) have doubled in the last fifty years and will continue to increase if no greater effort is made to reduce them, the United Nations said today for Food and Agriculture (FAO).

Latin America and the Caribbean is the second region that generates the most agricultural emissions globally, accounting for 17% of the total, only surpassed by Asia (44%). It is followed by Africa (15%), Europe (12%) and North America (8%).

According to the FAOSTAT database, agricultural emissions (crops and livestock) in the region grew, from 1961 to 2010, from 388 to more than 900 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent * (CO2 eq). Livestock-related emissions contributed 88% of this total.

“Global emissions from agriculture continue to increase, although not as fast as those from other human activities. It is essential that governments promote the absorption and retention of greenhouse gases, to move towards sustainable production models that allow us to achieve full food security, ”explained the FAO regional representative.

Carbon sources and sinks in the region Total regional emissions –considering agriculture, forestry, and other land uses- exceeded 2,800 million tons of CO2 eq on average for the period 2001-2010.

The net conversion of forests to other uses was the main source of GHG in the region: between 2001 and 2010, it generated an average of 1,900 million tons of CO2 eq.

See full infographic here

Crops and livestock generate 860 million tons of CO2 eq, biomass burning generated 31 million tons and degraded peatlands (a type of acidic wetland in which organic matter has accumulated in the form of peat), generated 17 million tons of CO2 eq.

In the same period, forests acted as the most important GHG sink, absorbing 440 million tons of CO2 eq on average in the same period 2001-2010. With the foregoing, net forest emissions averaged close to 1.5 billion tons between 2000 and 2010, showing a sharp decrease in recent years.

Countries to conduct emissions inventories and mitigation plans Experts from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean met in San José, Costa Rica in a Mesoamerican training workshop so that governments can create emissions inventories and mitigation plans.

These inventories are essential to plan national mitigation actions and participate in REDD + mechanisms (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).

These reports and inventories will identify climate change mitigation and adaptation practices within the framework of rural development in each country, and the existing tools and data to improve national processes and facilitate an exchange of experiences between Mesoamerican countries and the rest of the region. region.

The workshop was organized by the FAO project on Monitoring and Evaluation of Greenhouse Gases in Agriculture, the UN-REDD Program and by the National Forestry Commission of Mexico through the REDD + Strengthening Project and South-South Cooperation.

The FAO project seeks to strengthen the capacities of countries in technical methodologies, public policies and institutional processes to improve rural statistics and produce complete and accurate estimates on national GHG emissions from agriculture, forestry, land use and change. of land use.

More information in the following infographic:

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses.

Note: * Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) is a measure used to compare different greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential.


Video: UN Chiefs State of the Planet speech at Columbia University (June 2022).


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