Greenhouse gas intensity of three main crops and implications for low-carbon agriculture in China

W Wang, L Guo, Y Li, M Su, Y Lin, C de Perthuis, X Ju, E Lin, D Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

China faces significant challenges in reconciling food security goals with the objective of becoming a low-carbon economy. Agriculture accounts for approximately 11 % of China’s national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with cereal production representing a large proportion (about 32 %) of agricultural emissions. Minimizing emissions per unit of product is a policy objective and we estimated the GHG intensities (GHGI) of rice, wheat and maize production in China from 1985 to 2010. Results show significant variations of GHGIs among Chinese provinces and regions. Relative to wheat and maize, GHGI of rice production is much higher owing to CH4 emissions, and is more closely related to yield levels. In general, the south and central has been the most carbon intensive region in rice production while the GHGI of wheat production is highest in north and northwest provinces. The southwest has been characterized by the highest maize GHGI but the lowest rice GHGI. Compared to the baseline scenario, a 2 % annual reduction in N inputs, combined with improved water management in rice paddies, would mitigate 17 % of total GHG emissions from cereal production in 2020 while sustaining the required yield increase to ensure food security. Better management practices will entail additional gains in soil organic carbon further decreasing GHGI. To realize the full mitigation potential while maximizing agriculture development, the design of appropriate policies should accommodate local conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57 - 70
Number of pages14
JournalClimatic Change
Volume128
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 2015

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greenhouse gas
wheat
maize
food security
agriculture
cereal
crop
carbon
rice
agricultural emission
water management
management practice
mitigation
policy
product
province
economy

Bibliographical note

1024829

Keywords

  • China
  • Food security
  • Greenhouse gas intensity
  • Low-carbon agriculture

Cite this

Wang, W., Guo, L., Li, Y., Su, M., Lin, Y., de Perthuis, C., ... Moran, D. (2015). Greenhouse gas intensity of three main crops and implications for low-carbon agriculture in China. Climatic Change, 128(1-2), 57 - 70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1289-7
Wang, W ; Guo, L ; Li, Y ; Su, M ; Lin, Y ; de Perthuis, C ; Ju, X ; Lin, E ; Moran, D. / Greenhouse gas intensity of three main crops and implications for low-carbon agriculture in China. In: Climatic Change. 2015 ; Vol. 128, No. 1-2. pp. 57 - 70.
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abstract = "China faces significant challenges in reconciling food security goals with the objective of becoming a low-carbon economy. Agriculture accounts for approximately 11 {\%} of China’s national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with cereal production representing a large proportion (about 32 {\%}) of agricultural emissions. Minimizing emissions per unit of product is a policy objective and we estimated the GHG intensities (GHGI) of rice, wheat and maize production in China from 1985 to 2010. Results show significant variations of GHGIs among Chinese provinces and regions. Relative to wheat and maize, GHGI of rice production is much higher owing to CH4 emissions, and is more closely related to yield levels. In general, the south and central has been the most carbon intensive region in rice production while the GHGI of wheat production is highest in north and northwest provinces. The southwest has been characterized by the highest maize GHGI but the lowest rice GHGI. Compared to the baseline scenario, a 2 {\%} annual reduction in N inputs, combined with improved water management in rice paddies, would mitigate 17 {\%} of total GHG emissions from cereal production in 2020 while sustaining the required yield increase to ensure food security. Better management practices will entail additional gains in soil organic carbon further decreasing GHGI. To realize the full mitigation potential while maximizing agriculture development, the design of appropriate policies should accommodate local conditions.",
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Wang, W, Guo, L, Li, Y, Su, M, Lin, Y, de Perthuis, C, Ju, X, Lin, E & Moran, D 2015, 'Greenhouse gas intensity of three main crops and implications for low-carbon agriculture in China', Climatic Change, vol. 128, no. 1-2, pp. 57 - 70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1289-7

Greenhouse gas intensity of three main crops and implications for low-carbon agriculture in China. / Wang, W; Guo, L; Li, Y; Su, M; Lin, Y; de Perthuis, C; Ju, X; Lin, E; Moran, D.

In: Climatic Change, Vol. 128, No. 1-2, 2015, p. 57 - 70.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - China faces significant challenges in reconciling food security goals with the objective of becoming a low-carbon economy. Agriculture accounts for approximately 11 % of China’s national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with cereal production representing a large proportion (about 32 %) of agricultural emissions. Minimizing emissions per unit of product is a policy objective and we estimated the GHG intensities (GHGI) of rice, wheat and maize production in China from 1985 to 2010. Results show significant variations of GHGIs among Chinese provinces and regions. Relative to wheat and maize, GHGI of rice production is much higher owing to CH4 emissions, and is more closely related to yield levels. In general, the south and central has been the most carbon intensive region in rice production while the GHGI of wheat production is highest in north and northwest provinces. The southwest has been characterized by the highest maize GHGI but the lowest rice GHGI. Compared to the baseline scenario, a 2 % annual reduction in N inputs, combined with improved water management in rice paddies, would mitigate 17 % of total GHG emissions from cereal production in 2020 while sustaining the required yield increase to ensure food security. Better management practices will entail additional gains in soil organic carbon further decreasing GHGI. To realize the full mitigation potential while maximizing agriculture development, the design of appropriate policies should accommodate local conditions.

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