Sustainable intensification will not keep us within the 2-degree goal for 2030

There is a widely held assumption that sustainable intensification is a sufficient measure for reducing future greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. We know that sustainable intensification at the very least decreases the emissions intensity of food. It also likely helps reduce emissions that would have occurred with less efficient systems in the future and “spares land” to avoid conversion of high carbon ecosystems such as forests in the humid tropics or peatlands.

So will sustainable intensification meet hard climate targets? 

Not in the current trajectory, according to global models analyzed by Lini Wollenberg, leader of Low Emissions Agriculture for CCAFS, and colleagues. At the Climate Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference in Montpellier on March 17, Wollenberg summarized their findings:

“Neither business-as-usual intensification of agriculture nor moderate adoption of mitigation practices will reduce emissions enough to avoid a 2-degree C temperature increase in 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. “

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