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The share of agri-food systems in total greenhouse gas emissions

Global, regional and country trends 1990–2019











FAO. 2021. The share of food systems in total greenhouse gas emissions. Global, regional and country trends 1990–2019. FAOSTAT Analytical Brief Series No. 31. Rome.


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    Greenhouse gas emissions from pre- and post agricultural production processes
    Global, regional and country trends, 1990–2020
    2023
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    Agrifood systems account for one-third of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and pre- and post-production (PPP) activities represent just over 33 percent (5.5 Gt CO2eq) of agrifood systems emissions. PPP activities cover activities after the farm gate (food processing, food packaging, food transport, food retail, food household consumption, agrifood systems waste disposal), and before the farm gate (fertilizer manufacturing, pesticide manufacturing, generation of electricity used on farm, generation of heat used on farm). This analytical brief focuses on a new FAOSTAT domain dedicated to PPP emissions. Data already published in FAOSTAT in previous years, and previously disseminated in other domains, are now organized in the PPP domain, including information on both emissions and the underlying activity data.
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    Booklet
    Agrifood systems and land-related emissions
    Global, regional and country trends, 2001–2021
    2023
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    Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agrifood systems are generated within the farm gate, by crop and livestock production activities; by land-use change, for instance deforestation and peatland drainage to make room for agriculture; and in pre- and post-production processes, such as food manufacturing, transport, retail, household consumption and food waste disposal. This analytical brief provides an update to the year 2021 of all agrifood systems emissions and indicators. At the same time, it offers a more detailed focus on land-use change emissions, considering that emissions within the farm gate and pre- and post-production processes were discussed in detail previously.
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    Article
    Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: building the evidence base 2021
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    New estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the food system were developed at the country level, for the period 1990–2018, integrating data from crop and livestock production, on-farm energy use, land use and land use change, domestic food transport and food waste disposal. With these new country-level components in place, and by adding global and regional estimates of energy use in food supply chains, we estimate that total GHG emissions from the food system were about 16 CO2eq yr−1 in 2018, or one-third of the global anthropogenic total. Three quarters of these emissions, 13 Gt CO2eq yr−1, were generated either within the farm gate or in pre- and post-production activities, such as manufacturing, transport, processing, and waste disposal. The remainder was generated through land use change at the conversion boundaries of natural ecosystems to agricultural land. Results further indicate that pre- and post-production emissions were proportionally more important in developed than in developing countries, and that during 1990–2018, land use change emissions decreased while pre- and post-production emissions increased. We also report results on a per capita basis, showing world total food systems per capita emissions decreasing during 1990–2018 from 2.9 to 2.2 t CO2eq cap−1, with per capita emissions in developed countries about twice those in developing countries in 2018. Our findings also highlight that conventional IPCC categories, used by countries to report emissions in the National GHG inventory, systematically underestimate the contribution of the food system to total anthropogenic emissions. We provide a comparative mapping of food system categories and activities in order to better quantify food-related emissions in national reporting and identify mitigation opportunities across the entire food system.

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