Reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions may plant the seed for a cooler planet | 6/15/2017 | Staff
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By adopting a few beneficial management practices, farms—and particularly dairy farms—can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, according to a team of researchers.

Based on a series of climate-model projections, the researchers found that if farmers worldwide set a target to adopt practices to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases, particularly methane and nitrous oxide, by just 25 percent over the next 30 years, they could reduce overall warming by 0.21 degrees Celsius, or 6 percent of projected total warming. Scientists have set targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above levels experienced in preindustrial times.

Emission - Cuts - Farms - Degrees - Celsius

Emission cuts from dairy farms alone could contribute 0.03 degrees Celsius of that temperature reduction, according to the researchers, who reported their findings in the current issue of Environmental Research Letters.

"What we're trying to understand is the overall impact of dairy farming on climate change and finding out what are the best management practices that can be identified by actually doing experiments on the farm and understanding what effects these practices have on the overall lifecycle of the farm's greenhouse gas emissions," said Chris Forest, professor of climate dynamics in meteorology and atmospheric science and associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

Attention - Greenhouse - Gases - Carbon - Dioxide

Most recent attention on greenhouse gases has focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but other gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, contribute about a quarter of the current volume of total greenhouse gas emissions and may be easier to mitigate than carbon dioxide, according to Forest, who is also affiliated with the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and an associate of the Institute for CyberScience. While farm equipment does produce carbon dioxide, agricultural operations are major contributors of methane and nitrous oxide gases. Cows produce...
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