Food production is both a victim and a cause of global climate change.
- Cause of climate change : industrial agri-business is a major source of CO2 source of the 3 main GHGs
- Impacted by climate change : global warming, climate disruption drought and extreme weather are weather events disastrous to world food. security.
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Humans started emitting carbon with the
development of agriculture - nothing approaching the rate of course since the
development of fossil fuel industrial energy. Today agriculture is a major
source of greenhouse gases especially when land use change (deforestation) is
factored in. The livestock industry focused aspect of agri-buisiness is a large
source of greenhouse gas global warming that includes the big source of methane
from ruminant (mainly cows).
ZERO CARBON IS A MUST
FOR FOOD SECURITY
If deforestation is factored in industrial food production is a large emitter of CO2 - and GHGs in general
What is industrial food production?
- heavily mechanized (CO2)
- deforestation -land clearing (CO2)
- slaughter industry - hot water (CO2)
- centralized long distance/ transport (CO2)
- livestock (CH4)
Methane (CH4) is a source of some CO2 by being oxidised
in the atmosphere.
Industrialized deforestation - mainly for pasture and agriculture is a large carbon dioxide emitter estimated at 17% of global CO2 emissions (IPCC 2007).
Forests have always been cleared for agriculture but today the last great tropical rain forests are being felled and cleared at a staggering rate.
For zero carbon deforestation must stop
Tropospheric (ground level) ozone - another reason for zero carbon (i.e. stop fossil fuel air pollution)
Ground level ozone has a double global warming effect: it is a GHG and more of it is increased by global warming. It is damaging the crops.
It is caused by ambient heat catalyzing a chemical reaction of fossil fuel air pollutants in the lower atmosphere. So the more global warming, the more toxic ground level ozone there is that reduces the lands capacity to take up and metabolize CO2 from the air.
Tropospheric ozone increase can only be stopped by stopping fossil fuel combustion- zero carbon.
Clearing a forest emits large amounts of carbon as CO2 stored in the forest floor and soil is released and there is no forest to take the equivalent amount of carbon back from the air.
It is a frightful irony that our modern industrial food production system is damaging to our food security.
So long as we are not headed for zero carbon global emissions, we are depriving our children and grandchildren of more and more food.
It is foolish to think that farming practices and crops can be adapted to increasing global warming and climate disruption.
Food production as source of CO2
(and the other GHGs CH4 & N2O)
Tropospheric (ground level) ozone