Science

Going Fully Organic Would Drive Up Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Study

Greenhouse gas emissions would be driven up if the worlds agriculture were to be converted to organic farming, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Cranfield University said that if England and Wales switched to a 100 percent organic diet, it would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, because methods used for organic farming take up a greater amount of land.

Compared to conventional farming, greenhouse emissions could rise by 21 percent, the study found.

The research, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, estimated that land in England and Wales would only be able to produce 60 percent of produce, meaning 40 percent of food would need to be sourced from overseas producers and imported.

According to the research, while organic methods typically have lower carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions per unit of area farmed, the volume of food grown was 40 percent less compared to non-organic yields.

Organic farming necessarily requires more land to produce a given quantity of food,” study lead author Guy Kirk told Live Science.

As fertilizers arent used, legumes are planted in between crops to balance the soils nitrogen level, which takes up more land space. This would reduce the amount of land available for the production of crops.

“The key message from my perspective is that you cant really have your cake and eat it,” Laurence Smith, who was part of the research team, told New Scientist.

Sourcing food from countries overseas would largely drive up the amount of greenhouse emissions due to their lower productivity levels, which would require five times the amount of land used currently to produce food in England and Wales, according to the study.

One of the authors of the study, Philip Jones, from the University of Reading, told the BBC: “We estimate that, were organic farming to be adopted wholesale without any change in diet, we would need nearly six million more hectares of land.”

“Much of which would need to come from Europe. This has an associated impact on the environment, adding potentially unnecessary food miles and greenhouse gas emissions to our food systems.”

Kirk said realistically, organic farming methods need to be combined with conventional methods.

“Although there are undoubted lRead More – Source

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