Science News 05/11/2012

Biological agriculture against the planet fever

A project has been launched in Bologna, in Italy, with the goal of reducing the emission of greenhouse gas and the warming of the planet

Agriculture is responsible for 12% of the total of greenhouse gases due to human activities, but also for 47% of methane emissions due to livestock (73%), the management of organic fertilizers (26%), and to the 58% of the European emission of N2O.

These substances are the main reasons for the current environmental emergency: the climate change and the global warming
The main goals of the first Italian Table of discussion on “Biological Agriculture for the Climate”, promted by the Comitato Clima di Icea, and by the Istituto Certificazione Etica e Ambientale, include the reduction of emissions and their effects on cultivations and livestock, to prevent the evolutions of the next years.

The idea of a sustainable agriculture wants to support the idea of an agriculture able to fight against climate change, by reducing CO2 emissions and subtracting CO2 through photosynthesis and fixating it through partial or complete landfill of biomasses in the soil, in form of organic substance (SO).

The sustainability of biologic agriculture is intrinsic in its method: the potential, according to few researches, is to reduce greenhouse gases emission and maintain CO2 in the soil, thanks to the use of organic fertilizers, landfill of cultures to increase the productivity of lands and adequate turnovers of cultivations.

The responsibility of agriculture. The possibilities of bio
Agriculture releases in the atmosphere a considerable quantity of CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide N20. The fourth report of IPCC (Intergovernamental Panel on Climate Change), from 2005, concluded that these gases contribute to 10-12% of the total greenhouse gases emission. Agriculture is responsible for less than 1% of the total emission of CO2, but it emits 47% of the total of methane (from livestock farming (73%), organic fertilizers (26%)), which has a global heating potential (GWP) equal to 23 CO2, and about 58% of N2O, whose potential is 310 CO2. These data clarify the impact of agriculture on the climate.

At the same time, a sustainable agriculture is the only productive system which can reduce CO2 emissions or subtract CO2 through photosynthesis, fixate it in plants and in the soil.

A correct way of managing agriculture can effectively reduce greenhouse gases emission: the technologies are simple and related to biological agricultural. There is no substantial technical or technological limitation, because many solutions which might reduce the emissions of climate changing gases are already included in the biological procedures, which means that new investments would have very little cost.

The goals of the first Italian Table “Biologic Agriculture for the Climate” This Italian initiative wants to enable strategies to adapt to climate changes, starting with the research and development of new methodologies to quantify emissions, to reach the goal of promoting and sustaining a biologic agriculture aware of its potential role in reducing greenhouse gases.

The organizations and institutions which participated in the Table confirmed the will to support the biological agriculture organizations in developing a strategy on climate changes. This commitment will entail to provide assistance for developing and introducing regulations on climate changes which fulfill the international standards, thus creating an adequate institutional support.

di S. C.