A recent report has outlined that growth in agricultural production is forecast to exceed the growth in direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture in the next decade.
As a result the carbon intensity of agricultural production is expected to decrease, according to the OECD-FAO.
Global emissions from the sector are set to increase by 4% in this period.
Livestock will account for more than 80% of this increase. At the same time, OECD-FAO forecasts overall global agricultural production is to increase by 1.4% per annum.
It projects that in all regions, growth in production is expected to exceed the growth in GHG emissions from agriculture, driven by yield improvements and a declining share of ruminant production in overall production.
The strongest growth in meat-related emissions is forecast in Sub-Saharan Africa, where population growth will drive demand, albeit in a fairly extensive production system.
The projections don’t appear to account for the planned increase of 24m in the Brazilian beef herd reported by the Irish Farmers Journal in recent weeks.
In Europe, direct emissions from agriculture are forecast to decline by over 1% in the next decade despite output growing by 8%.
According to the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy, European agriculture is the only major production system in the world that has reduced GHG emissions (20% since 1990).
European and Irish farmers, who are leading the reduction in agricultural emissions, may well wonder at the regional differences projected in the next decade. It is fair to question who is arbitrating global agricultural production and trade and if the new realities of climate change are being adequately addressed.