Biotech Updates

Study Reveals Ag Tech Can Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

September 13, 2023

A new study led by Benjamin Z. Houlton, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and Maya Almaraz, associate research scholar at Princeton University shows that state-of-the-art agricultural technology and management can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but eliminate it altogether by producing net negative emissions, reducing more greenhouse gas than food systems add.

The research published in PLOS Climate also reports that using agricultural technology could result in more than 13 billion tons of net negative greenhouse gas emissions each year. According to the paper, the world's food system network generates between 21% and 37% of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions each year. With the global population approaching 10 billion by mid-century, greenhouse gas emissions of the global food system – if left unchecked – could grow to 50% and 80% by 2050, according to the paper.

Previous research has indicated that changing diets is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the food sector, but Houlton and Almaraz believe the emission reduction could be greater. Their study examined both dietary change and agricultural technologies as options for slashing emissions. A new model showed that the most effective way to reduce emissions is to boost soil modifications for crops, develop agroforestry, advance sustainable seafood harvesting practices, and promote hydrogen-powered fertilizer production.

For more details, read the news article in the Cornell Chronicle.

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