It is widely acknowledged that climate change through emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG)  in the atmosphere is causing one of the biggest environmental threats  worldwide.


Since the 1990s  the international community has been faced with  the challenge of global warming and its consequence for the environment and economy .

The European union  has made a commitment  in reducing its GHG emissions by 20%  by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
Agriculture today contributes to around 10% of total GHG emission.

It is significant to note that Agriculture is not accountable directly for the emission of    Cointo the atmosphere, at the same time it is able to act  as a sink for Co2 , as its farmland holds most of its carbon reserve, also  Biofuels and bioenergy produced from agricultural crops can replace fossil fuels.

So how is Agriculture responsible for GHG emission?

Apart from Co2 two other important GHG gasses  are Nitrous oxide (N2o) and methane (CH4). N2o is emitted by bacteria in soils and oceans. In the farming industry,  the use of nitrogen fertilizers and animal waste can stimulate  the production and emission of more nitrogen oxide, moreover the impact of N2o is 300 times greater than Co2, which means that one tonne of nitrous oxide is equivalent to the warming effect that 300 tonnes of Carbon dioxide .

The other main GHG released from agriculture is Methane (CH4) which is released mainly from digestion process of animals (cows, sheep). CH4 can trap 25 times more heat per mas unit than carbon dioxide.

The gravity of the situation is demanding more accountability  from authorities and  the industry is adapting by changing its  farming techniques towards improved soil management techniques, especially when it comes to the  use of nitrogen fertilisers .

The changing climate will have a knock-on effect in water supply,  and this is already  slowly changing the agricultural landscape in southern Europe. The conservation of our edaphic resources means that agricultural techniques will need to change and to adapt to this situation by moving towards more sophisticated  irrigation systems.  A holistic approach towards sustainable agriculture and soil and water management will eventually lead to improved crop  profitability as well as  protecting the  environmental biodiversity.  Agricultural land is considered a co2 sink, as its land   has the capacity to absorb and store Co2. This  can come about through afforestation,   conversion of arable land into grassland or generally by  avoiding soil disturbance.

Farming is slowly undergoing a silent revolution, by moving away from  the standard interventionist approach which uses intensive soil exploitation (tilling, excessive mineral and fertilizer)  towards a more sustainable form of agriculture. The capacity to adapt to this challenge demands a re-education in farming mentality and practices which will inevitably meet resistance as old habits are hard to change. It is only through knowledge, the right attitude and determination that we can look on to a brighter future for the farming industry.