Organic farming, supported by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, may not be better for the planet. A major study of organic farms reports that some benefits of cutting out pesticides are being undone because so few crops are produced. Yields can be 40 per cent lower than on traditional farms, meaning more land is needed which adds to greenhouse gases and water shortages. Organic farming, supported by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured), may not be better for the planet. A major study of organic farms reports that some benefits of cutting out pesticides are being undone because so few crops are produced.
Nitrous oxide and methane released into the atmosphere from rice farms are fuelling global warming, equivalent to the long term impact of 600 coal plants. Researchers found that paddies which opt for intermittent flooding - in an effort to conserve water - emit up to 45 times more nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. That's compared to continuously flooded farms that mainly emit methane, which stays in the atmosphere for considerably less time. The findings raise the prospect that rice farming worldwide is responsible for up to twice the level of climate change as had been thought. Nitrous oxide and methane released into the atmosphere from rice farms are fuelling global warming.
The foods we eat and the ways we produce them damage our planet's climate. Emissions from food systems around the world are stopping us from hitting key climate change targets of lower temperatures, according to a recent report in Science. A conservative estimate by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations puts agriculture's contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions at 14.5 percent. Some experts warn those numbers are too low. They estimate that agriculture contributes to upwards of 37 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, intermingling with the largest sectors that contribute to emissions: energy, industry, and transportation. It's easy to point a finger at the massive scale of livestock or rice production, two enterprises that pump large amounts of methane into the atmosphere as a byproduct.
NIIGATA/KYOTO - Self-driving tractors, tomato-picking robots, camera-mounted drones to survey fields and spot crop damage, and satellite data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to help farms keep track of climate and weather data. At over a dozen booths beside the G20 farm ministers' meeting venue earlier this month in the Sea of Japan city of Niigata, agricultural organizations and technology firms touted products and services they see as necessary tools to ensure a prosperous future for agriculture. "In today's Japan, the aging of farmers has become an issue, and the overall population of the country is decreasing. Collaboration between agriculture and nonagricultural sectors, such as satellite technology, IoT ("internet of things," internet connectivity into physical devices like tractors) and artificial intelligence has a key role to play in fostering agricultural innovation," said Susumu Hamamura, parliamentary vice minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The increased use of easily accessible data on tablet computers and smartphones to provide farmers with a wide range of agricultural data was a key message at the Niigata conference.