Industrial Agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, as well as, one of its major victims. Agriculture also holds the KEY to reversing the impact of global warming on the world's food supply and climate emergency. There is a growing consensus globally that by implementing Regenerative Agricultural practices and Reducing Food Waste we can substantially reduce the carbon footprint imposed by agriculture. AND, at the same time, sequester large amounts of the carbon in CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil. This double punch, if put into practice globally, promises to immediately and substantially mitigate the disastrous impact of climate change.
Our agricultural practices profoundly affect the climate emergency that we are facing.The European Union's Scientific Advice Mechanism estimated that the present industrial food system as a whole contributes 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions. When CO2 emissions are included from the manufacture of pesticides and fertilizers, greenhouse gas emissions run over 50%. This figure is on course to increase by 30–40% by 2050 due to population growth and a dietary change to more animal based protein.
Factory farming accounts for 37% of methane (CH4) emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. Manure can also contain traces of salt and heavy metals, which can end up in bodies of water and accumulate in the sediment, concentrating as they move up the food chain.
Regenerative Agriculture (Agroecology) can dramatically reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by converting it to soil carbon through the process of photosynthesis. It can accomplish this through different cropping practices such as: (1) Reduced or No-till Farming; (2) Cover Cropping; (3) Composting; (4) Increasing Crop Diversity; (5)Organic Annual Cropping; (6) Animal Integration; (7) Managed Grazing; (8) Silvopasture; and (9) Agroforestry.
The World Bank and FAO have shown that one-third of the food already produced is lost between the time it is harvested and would be consumed. In developing Countries over 50% of harvested food is often lost during this postharvest period –– enough food is lost to feed 2 billion hungry people annually.
The major reason for these postharvest food losses in developing countries is the absence of a cold chain to keep food cool while it is being processed, stored, transported, and distributed. Cold chains are absent in developing countries because of the lack of a power grid to energize them. Fortunately, solar-powered refrigeration is proving useful in building cold chain infrastructure in developing countries where power grids are absent.
Climate change and poverty are deeply intertwined because climate change disproportionately affects poor people in low-income communities and developing countries around the world. Those in poverty have a much higher chance of experiencing the devastating ill-effects of climate change due to their increased exposure and vulnerability. Also, poor people lack the resiliency to overcome the impact of global warming on their lives.