A brief Australian perspective on new technologies for mitigation and adaptation

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A brief Australian perspective on new technologies for mitigation and adaptation

  1. 1. CLIMATE ADAPTATION A brief Australian perspective on new technologies for mitigation and adaptation Mark Howden and Steven Crimp Presentation, ECLAC Symposium, September 2012
  2. 2. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Climate change and Australia • Australia is one of the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gas emissions • And one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change • Recognition of this has generated research on both emission-reduction and on climate change adaptation • The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has just finished a 3-year research program, some of the results are presented here.
  3. 3. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Measuring soil carbon • A new method has been established for measuring soil carbon in soil samples (mid infra-red spectroscopy), which reduces the cost of analyses from approximately $1000 by previous methods to around $40 • Conversion of soil carbon values to carbon stocks (tonnes per hectare) has been made easier by novel bulk density scanning techniques demonstrated in the program
  4. 4. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Reducing methane emissions • The screening program identified that several shrubs have anti-methanogenic properties and good dietary characteristics • In vitro tests indicate methane emission reducions of 25 to 50% • Increased oil or fat component of the diet (up to 6-8%) can reduce methane significantly (up to 15%) • Preliminary evidence and estimates for heritability of a low methane trait in sheep and beef cattle
  5. 5. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Nitrous oxide reductions in crops • Nitrification inhibitors (e.g. DCD) reduced daily nitrous oxide (N2O) losses by up to 90 per cent • The effects were most dramatic in summer crops and later in the winter season • The impact of DCD was short lived (4-5 weeks) as the chemical compound degraded under increasing soil temperatures during spring • The application of DCD did not translate into higher grain yields and so remains uneconomical reducing N2O emissions • Legume-sourced N look like it has lower N2O emissions
  6. 6. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Nitrous oxide reductions from livestock • A single application of DCD in late winter or late autumn reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 35-45 per cent when DCD was applied up to 3 months prior to urine application, or immediately after urine application • Nitrous oxide emissions were further reduced when DCD was applied after each of multiple urine applications. • However, application of DCD (with or without urea fertiliser) had minimal effects on pasture production. • The lack of a production response means that the use of N2O inhibitors is unlikely
  7. 7. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Livestock heat adaptation • Heat stress reduces intake, reduces production and increases animal welfare risk • a low dose of betaine (2 g/day) lowered respiration and heart rate, and skin and rectal temperature • while a higher dose (4 g/day) increased these measurements • sheep fed low doses of supplemental chromium (200ppb) had lower rectal temperatures and respiration rate • the potential use of Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) as markers of heat stress (HSPs may be useful when selecting animals better suited to excessively hot temperatures Di Giacomo et al. (2012)
  8. 8. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Winegrape adaptations • New grape varieties were tested and some show great potential to deliver high quality wines under warm to hot Australian conditions • Significant differences in growth and water use efficiency were detected between different rootstocks, indicating that choice of rootstocks will be important in managing future climate change • The impact of warmer temperatures on wine grapes is highly dependent on variety with some varieties showing improved wine quality and others reduced wine quality Thomson and Downey (2012)
  9. 9. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Winegrape adaptations After evaluating a range of varieties, clones and selected breeding lines under hot conditions, varieties can be identified that have: • short seasonality to improve water use efficiency • smaller canopies to minimise transpiration and improve water use efficiency • long seasonality to ripen in cooler conditions • optimal berry composition for harvest at lower maturities for the production of lower alcohol wines. Thomson and Downey (2012)
  10. 10. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Crop system adaptations
  11. 11. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Crop system adaptations
  12. 12. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Crop system adaptations
  13. 13. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Climate change vulnerability
  14. 14. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Summary • Improved ways of assessing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture that can help us design and choose climate-change-friendly ways of feeding the world • Options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions although these are not always economically competitive and sometimes result in only modest reductions • Adaptation options that can help Australian agriculture manage climate change and climate extremes more effectively now and in the future • Ways of assessing where to pay more attention to building adaptive capacity
  15. 15. CLIMATE ADAPTATION Thank you Climate Adaptation Flagship Dr Mark Howden Theme Leader Phone: +61 2 6242 1679 Email: mark.howden@csiro.au Contact Us Phone: 1300 363 400 Email: Enquiries@csiro.au Web: www.csiro.au Website: www.csiro.au/org/ClimateAdaptationFlagship

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