Organic vs conventional farming: Which is worse for Earth’s climate?

Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.

The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use …. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions.

The reason why organic food is so much worse for the climate is that the yields per hectare are much lower, primarily because fertilizers are not used. To produce the same amount of organic food, you therefore need a much bigger area of land.

The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost,” to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation ….

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“The fact that more land use leads to greater climate impact has not often been taken into account in earlier comparisons between organic and conventional food,” says Stefan Wirsenius [one of the study’s authors]. “This is a big oversight, because …. this effect can be many times bigger than the greenhouse gas effects, which are normally included ….

Read full, original article: Organic food worse for the climate

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