Contribution of agriculture to emissions of climatically relevant trace gases - possibilities for abatement?
If agriculture is understood to include the burning of tropical rain forests and savannas for purposes of land use change, then its contribution to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect amounts to approx. 30 %. These emissions hold a large abatement potential. The contribution of agriculture in the narrower sense accounts for approx. 12 % and could be reduced by cutting back the production and consumption of meat and dairy products (CH4) and using organic or mineral fertiliser only as much as is required for plant growth (NOx, N2O). The potential of extensification and land diversion for reducing CO2-emissions appears to be very small at best. Alternative cultivation methods could reduce CO2, N2O and NOx emissions, though biomass production would also decrease. Cultivation of biomass as a renewable raw material and especially for energy production may slightly reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.