The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report this week stating with certainty that global warming is happening and is mostly human-caused. According to scientists, agriculture is both a contributor to global warming and a potential victim of its effects.
The report, the work of over 1200 authors and reviewers from 40 countries, predicts a temperature increase of around 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. According to the report, there is around a 90% chance that human activity is causing the warming.
One of those causes could be agriculture. Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased dramatically since the advent of industrialism, and while the report charges fossil fuel emissions and changes in land use for contributing to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it also says agriculture is the primary source of methane and nitrous oxide.
Changing climate could have a dramatic impact on agriculture as well, as climatologists predict more extreme weather in coming years, including floods and droughts.
Energy policy organization Fresh Energy says the report shows the importance of continuing moves towards renewable fuels with lower emissions.