If Britain and Wales went 100% organic, crop yields would crash by half and carbon emissions would double, UK study shows

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Greenhouse gas emissions would go up if all farms in England and Wales went organic. Though the emissions of individual farms would go down, much more food would have to be imported as the amount they would produce would decrease substantially.

Yields would fall by nearly half if all food in England and Wales was produced organically. To meet this deficit, more farmland would be needed elsewhere in the world, which could double overall greenhouse gas emissions compared with those from farming in the two countries now.

“The key message from my perspective is that you can’t really have your cake and eat it,” says Laurence Smith, now at the Royal Agricultural University in the UK, who was part of the team that performed the analysis. Smith is a proponent of organic farming and says “there are a lot of benefits to the organic approach”. But his analysis shows organic farming has downsides too.

Related article:  Does organic mean ‘pesticide free’? 5 things to know about the USDA organic label

According to the analysis by Smith and his colleagues, emissions per unit of food are on average 20 per cent lower for organic crops and 4 per cent lower for organic animal products.

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The problem is that, on average, organic yields per hectare are lower, too.

Read full, original article: Going fully organic would raise greenhouse gas emissions

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