UNEP report on global action to close emissions gap

2013 gap report strengthens case for wide-ranging global action to close emissions gap

Agroforestry is highlighted as one of three examples that should be scaled-up more widely

Agroforestry at Wakelyns

The Emissions Gap Report 2013, involving 44 scientific groups in 17 countries and coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), was published in early November as leaders prepared to meet for the latest Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Warsaw. Should the global community not immediately embark on wide-ranging actions to narrow the greenhouse gas emissions gap, the report says, the chance of remaining on the least-cost path to keeping global temperature rise below 2°C this century will swiftly diminish and open the door to a host of challenges.

Agriculture offers opportunities

This year’s report pays particular attention to the agriculture sector as, although few countries have specified action in this area as part of implementing their pledges, estimates of emission-reduction potentials for the sector range from 1.1 GtCO2e to 4.3 GtCO2e. Of particular interest is the reports emphasis on no-tillage and agroforestry

The report outlines a range of measures that not only contribute to climate-change mitigation, but enhance the sector’s environmental sustainability and could provide other benefits such as higher yields, lower fertilizer costs or extra profits from wood supply.

As examples, three key practices that should be scaled-up more widely are highlighted:

  • No-tillage practices. No-tillage refers to the elimination of ploughing by direct seeding under the mulch layer of the previous season’s crop. This reduces emissions from soil disturbance and use of farm machinery.
  • Improved nutrient and water management in rice production. This includes innovative cropping
    practices that reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Agroforestry. This consists of different management practices that deliberately include woody perennials on farms and the landscape, and which increase the uptake and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in biomass and soils.

The full report can be downloaded here

UNEP’s Climate Change portal

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