In the endeavor to produce more nutritious food, one of humanities greatest challenges is that many of the steps that might be taken to increase food productivity will have the opposite effect because of climate change. About 25% of the planet’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from agriculture and deforestation (1), and as the planet warms, crop yields are decreasing (2). The major sources of the three main biogenic GHGs from agriculture and land-use change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). To avoid the most serious consequences of climate change, emissions of these gases from burning fossil fuels and engaging in agriculture must be reduced, and in addition, excess carbon needs to be withdrawn from the atmosphere and sequestered into the soil.
1) Paustian, et al. Climate Smart Soils, Nature, 532, 49-57 (2016).
2) Premanandh, J, Factors affecting food security and contribution of modern technologies in food sustainability, J. Sci Food Agric 91:2707-2714 (2011).