Identifying our climate foodprint: assessing and reducing the global warming impacts of food and agriculture in the U.S.
As national governments move toward negotiating the next international agreement on climate change, and states and regions across the United States work to meet already established state greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, what is the role of agriculture and food systems? According to several recent estimates, these sectors are significant contributors to global climate change, both in the U.S. and worldwide. This is largely due to agricultural land conversion and degradation, and the fact that the industrialized farming systems that dominate today, especially in the U.S. and Europe, depend on massive resource inputs to produce crops and livestock. These systems also produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use and soil respiration, nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from fertilizers and soils, and methane from livestock, all of which contribute to global warming.