Is hype outpacing science on seaweed farming?
Seaweed farming is being hyped as a major weapon in the fight against climate change — as a way to absorb atmospheric carbon, reduce methane emissions from cattle, provide feedstock for biofuels, and feed the world — no fertilizers, fresh water, or even land required. (No paywall)
Can Danone reach its climate goals without scaling back dairy farming?
Last month, the French food company Danone — owner of milk and yogurt brands like Activia and Horizon Organics — pledged to cut absolute methane emissions from its milk supply chains by 30 percent by 2030, making it the first major food company with a methane-specific emissions target. But reducing those methane emissions is far from simple. A “methane ambition” document released by Danone outlines a few options, although somewhat vaguely and without acknowledging some of the controversies surrounding them. No paywall
Biogas incentives favor factory farms, critics say
Manure digesters are among the best-known ways for feedlots and dairy farms to capture greenhouse gas emissions and, in some cases, sell biomethane as a fuel. The climate, healthcare, and tax law signed this week by President Biden offers a new incentive to the biogas industry at the same time that the environmental credentials of on-farm digesters are being questioned.
Study: Cut beef, boost whole grains to make school lunches more sustainable
Reducing the amount of meat served in school lunches and increasing servings of whole grains could help reduce the National School Lunch Program’s environmental impact while expanding the market for foods produced in more ecologically friendly ways, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.
The new California gold rush into anaerobic digesters
There's money in manure for California dairy farmers with anaerobic digesters that capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their cattle's manure. Each cow on a farm with a digester can generate $2,827 a year in air pollution and biofuel credits for methane that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, calculated Aaron Smith, a professor at UC-Davis.
EPA to investigate North Carolina biogas for discrimination
The Environmental Protection Agency has notified North Carolina civil rights groups that it will investigate whether state regulators discriminated against communities of color when they approved four applications to convert hog waste into fuel. (No paywall)
Agriculture emerges from COP26 with focus on methane and innovation
The USDA would work with farmers to reduce agricultural emissions of methane, said the White House in describing the domestic impact of the UN climate summit in Scotland. The United States also is a leader in the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate, designed to accelerate breakthroughs in climate-smart farm production.
At climate talks, countries agree to halt deforestation and cut methane emissions
The second day of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) brought sweeping pledges to end deforestation and curb methane emissions. “This is a significant moment, like a ‘Paris moment’ for forests,” said Yadvinder Malhi, a professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford.
Report: Fertilizer responsible for more than 20 percent of total agricultural emissions
As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) gets underway in Glasgow, a new report finds that synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought, outpacing even the commercial aviation industry. The report, from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Greenpeace and GRAIN, urges a swift transition toward more sustainable food production in order to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change.(No paywall)
As COP26 nears, activists say agriculture should be a bigger part of the agenda
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which starts Oct. 31 in Glasgow, has been billed as a “turning point” for humanity and the “last, best chance” of averting climate disaster. And given the growing awareness of the central role that food and agricultural systems play in climate change—both as a cause and as part of a potential solution—many activists say that the sector is not as big a piece of the COP26 agenda as it should be. (No paywall)
Major economies pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent
Eight countries plus the EU are supporters of the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas by 30 percent by the end of this decade, said officials in Washington and Brussels over the weekend. More than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions by U.S. agriculture are methane.
California’s organic-waste law set a high bar, but most cities struggle to reach it
In 2016, California passed the nation’s most ambitious restrictions on landfilling food and yard waste, with the aim of slashing the greenhouse gases these organic materials generate when buried. The law mandated turning the waste into compost or biogas, with a goal of cutting landfill disposal by 50 percent, from 2014 levels, by the end of 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. But already, cities have fallen behind on setting up the costly systems for collecting and processing this waste. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, lagging communities could be fined up to $10,000 a day.(No paywall)
As globe warms, risk of agricultural drought rises, says climate report
Without immediate and broad-scale action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, global warming almost certainly will result in heat waves, changes in rainfall patterns and agricultural droughts, said a report by the UN climate change panel on Monday. Agricultural and ecological droughts were likely …
Methane from livestock may be greatly underestimated, say researchers
Livestock farms and feedlots in North America may be emitting far more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than currently assumed, according to a review published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Petition calls for EPA regulation of large dairy and hog farms
Two dozen environmental and consumer groups, including the Sierra Club and Government Accountability Project, petitioned the EPA on Tuesday to regulate large dairy and hog operations under federal air pollution laws. "The EPA has the duty and authority to regulate these methane super-emitters under the Clean Air Act as part of the administration's larger strategy to prevent catastrophic and irreversible climate change," said the groups.
Shift to ‘climate neutral’ agriculture, urges small-farm group
Climate change poses a serious threat to farmers as well as the rest of society, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in a report, released today, that calls for action “to make U.S. agriculture climate-neutral.” Steps would range from requiring farmers to meet minimum standards …
Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures
Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.
A climate change impact: Bubbling lakes that emit methane
Shallow lakes in farming regions “will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles” due to climate change, says a Aarhus University study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. “Submerged …