Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2012
Publication Date: 12/13/2012
Citation: Del Grosso, S.J., Cavigelli, M.A. 2012. Climate stabilization wedges revisited: can agricultural production and greenhouse gas reduction goals be accomplished? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 10:571-578.
Interpretive Summary: Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased faster than predicted. At the global scale, land use change is the most important agricultural GHG source, while in the US land use change is a large GHG sink. Implementation of technologies intended to reduce GHG emissions and changes in human behavior together prove substantial mitigation. Decreasing luxury consumption of animal protein in developed countries and intensifying agriculture in developing countries decrease GHG emissions while providing co-benefits.
Technical Abstract: Climate stabilization wedges are proposed as a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation framework because no single technology or economic sector can sufficiently reduce emissions to acceptable levels. Wedges are defined as strategies that contribute to GHG mitigation that in aggregate achieve a particular goal. To avoid the most dangerous risks of climate change, mitigation of ~ 9,000 Tg C equivalents is required by 2030. We estimate that agriculture could provide wedges of 1350 to 3900 Tg C under realization of technological and human behavior mitigation potentials. Improved management can decrease N2O and CH4 emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Consuming fewer livestock products can reduce emissions from developed countries while agricultural intensification using available technologies can reduce emissions from developing countries. Decreasing luxury protein and calorie consumption in developed countries improves health while avoided deforestation and reforestation in developing countries maintains biodiversity. The mitigation wedges have varying economic costs, but also co-benefits.