Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Reliable and affordable methods for measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture now available

The closed chamber method is a widely used technique to quantify greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural ecosystems. (Photo: IRRI)

As countries shift from mitigation commitments to action in the 2016 climate change negotiations and beyond, many countries are unable to plan for emissions reductions in agriculture due to a lack of data.

Earlier this year, researchers found that data used to calculate emission factors and populate models do not accurately represent conditions on small farms in tropical developing countries because they largely come from research in temperate, developed countries.
The complex, smallholder agricultural systems in tropical, developing countries do not fit the same emissions profiles as temperate agricultural systems, which are often mono-cultural,” said Meryl Richards, a researcher from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics who co-edited the book.
"As countries begin implementing their climate change commitments, some are finding that they do not have reliable information about the mitigation potential of particular agricultural practices under local conditions. Getting that information often requires field measurement, which can be very expensive. This book is intended as a guide to conducting measurement in a way that provides the most information at the least cost.”  
119 developing countries committed to mitigation in agriculture in the Paris Agreement but few countries shared details about how they will carry the pledges out. Agriculture (not including land use change) contributes an average of 35% of emissions in developing countries and 12% in developed countries.
“With the exception of a few crops and systems in tropical countries, there are few measured data for emissions from smallholder farms in developing countries,” Richards, said. “This book brings together the latest science in field measurements of agricultural greenhouse gas sources and sinks. Countries can use the methods and the data they produce to support improved emission factors for country inventories and to assess the mitigation impacts of practice changes and projects.”
  • Design a measurement program;
  • Quantify stocks, stock changes and fluxes of the major GHG sources and sinks including: land use and land cover change, greenhouse gas emissions from soils, methane emissions due to enteric fermentation in ruminants, biomass carbon, and soil carbon stocks; and
  • Use field measurements to estimate mitigation potential at larger scales, and assess trade-offs between climate change and development objectives.
Recognizing that cost of research has often been an impediment for some countries, authors provide guidance on how to choose from available methods, given users’ objectives, resources, and capacities.
Authors expect that national agricultural research centers, compilers of national greenhouse gas inventories, policy makers, agricultural development practitioners, universities and the private sector will find the guidelines useful to fulfill reporting requirements to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to identify and implement low emissions development practices that will fulfill mitigation targets outlined in the Paris Agreement. “As soon as the measurement data is collected, countries will be ready to use it,” Richards added.

(Repost from CCAFS site)


We will be publishing user guides and videos to accompany some of the chapters. Please see the video below summarizing the Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Managed and Natural Soils chapter or see the presentation here.

Further reading