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The future of mitigation: new technologies and emerging solutions


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Presentation by Hayden Montgomery, GRA, at the CLIFF-GRADS workshop on 6-7 October 2019 in Bali.

The two-day workshop was organized by the CCAFS Low Emissions Development Flagship and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). Read more:

Published in: Environment
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The future of mitigation: new technologies and emerging solutions

  1. 1. The future of mitigation: new technologies and emerging solutions Hayden Montgomery Special Representative 6 October 2019
  2. 2. IPCC SR: Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Agriculture CH4 -11% to -30% by 2030 -24% to -47% by 2050 Agriculture N2O +3% to -21% by 2030 +1% to -26% by 2050
  3. 3. Business as usual insufficient Sustainable increases in yield: per animal, per hectare, per day, per unit of input, can lead to significant reductions in emissions per unit of milk, meat and crop, however this alone will be insufficient to meet global goals. ,
  4. 4. Beyond business as usual • We need wide-spread adoption of best practices management, e.g:  improved animal feeding, breeding and selection, and health to increase overall productivity in the system;  maximizing grain yield – strong negative correlation between yield and emission intensity for rice, wheat and maize means emission intensity can be reduced while farmers' yields increase;  optimizing type, rate, time and placement of nitrogen fertilizer application;  fully exploit variability within and between systems (management explains a lot);  improved genetics for increased yield and/or resistance to climate impacts, e.g. drought • There are already good reasons to do these things – strong links to improved resilience, livelihoods, food security, economic development – yet there remain large gaps in adoption. • Much more is needed and there aren’t always obvious co-benefits as above – huge challenge.
  5. 5. Win-win by increasing productivity…
  6. 6. Livestock: 30% reductions would be possible by 2030… …by shifting all producers within a system and region to top 25% of producers within same system and region
  8. 8. USEFUL TECHNOLOGIES FOR MITIGATION OF AND ADAPTATIONBest practice (almost): AWD rice  Better root development  Irrigation water savings  Reduced arsenic uptake  Higher or similar yields  Better nutrient availability AWD is a management practice in irrigated lowland rice that saves water and reduces GHG emissions while maintaining yields. • Reduce water use • Greenhouse gas mitigation potential. 48% compared to continuous flooding. Flooded Non-Flooded It is defined by the periodic drying and re-flooding of the rice field.  Reduced lodging  Reduced damage due to fungal diseases  Higher resistance to certain pests  Better soil conditions for machine operation Reduction in mosquito-borne diseases AWD CO- BENEFITS: BENEFITS: Alternate Wetting and Drying
  9. 9. Emerging solutions: breeding low CH4 sheep Breeding: selection of low CH4 emitters Sheep selected for divergent CH4 yield on lucerne pellets also express the same trait when fed fresh pasture Repeatability n records Mean h2 ± s.e. Across days Across rounds CH4 (g/d) 5236 24.6 0.29 ± 0.05 0.94 ± 0.003 0.55 ± 0.02 CH4 (g/kg DMI) 5235 15.7 0.13 ± 0.03 0.89 ± 0.005 0.26 ± 0.02 Heritability (h2) and repeatability estimates for methane traits in sheep Pinares-Patiño et al. 2013
  10. 10. Emerging solutions: enteric CH4 inhibitors Predict compounds that could inhibit essential methanogen enzymes Leading compounds showing >30% reduction consistently, sometimes much higher Identify compounds that inhibit essential methanogen enzymes
  11. 11. Emerging solutions: nitrification inhibitors • Proven and commercially available with more than >70% reductions in N2O/nitrate leaching, e.g. DCD, but regulatory hurdles • Other new leading compounds up to 90% reduction in N2O, but must first be registered, commercialised
  12. 12. (Almost) emerging solutions: low methane feeds • Brassicas • Forage rape reduces CH4 emission by 20-30% in sheep (limited cattle studies) • Linear response to dietary inclusion • Fodder beet (reductions in CH4 observed when > 75% of the diet) • High cereal diets (>80% of total diet) • Lipid supplements (variable response) • Maize silage (inconsistent response) • Plants with tannins (depends on dose and type of tannin)
  13. 13. Some proof of concept priorities Selecting for low emissions cattle BNI and other plant effects on nitrogen cycle and N20 emissions Selecting for low emissions rice cultivars
  14. 14. Some proof of concept priorities Breeding CH4 inhibiting grasses, e.g. high lipids Enteric CH4 vaccine Biological delivery of inhibitory compounds
  15. 15. Assessing mitigation potential – prioritizing research investment • Readiness  stage of technological development • Potential impact  Efficacy of intervention  Proportion of emissions targeted • Potential for adoption  “in the seed” vs management practice or system change  Cost  Other benefits
  16. 16. Getting technology to market, e.g. of enteric methane mitigation compound Methane mitigation compound Non- toxic? Consistent effect? Durable effect? • Measuring the ‘right’ component in feeds • Empirical evidence required • Fundamental understanding of variation • Better measurement methods • Reliable data and better models for systems and value chains • Fits with systems? • Effects along value chain? • Farmers’ drivers:  Profitability (cost:benefit of interventions)  Productivity  Better feeds  Reliable feed sources  Incentives  Taxes • Societal needs  Environmental protection • Market trends • Adoption by farmers
  17. 17. Making mitigation count - MRV • Complexity of emissions:  Product of microbiological processes in sol, plant, animal  Vary significantly in time and space  Certainty of outcome? • Methodological considerations:  IPCC categories vs. economic sector  Inventory approach vs LCA – pollution swapping?  Other, e.g. impact of updating GWP values or other metrics on emissions trends and absolute levels • Activity data:  Largest source of uncertainty  Chioce of mitigation technology will have different activity data implications, e.g. vaccine, inhibitor, management  How to fill gaps?
  18. 18. Scarcity of capability and capacity in many parts of the world • Need to develop pipeline of next generation of science leaders (Masters, PhD, Post-Docs). Significant quantification challenge remains • Emissions vary significantly in time and space • Five of 140 developing countries can routinely capture livestock GHGs in national inventories • Five of 22 mitigation actions able to be captured in inventories in EU countries Sustained, long-term investment in science is needed • To retain human capability and research infrastructure • At a scale proportional to the scale of the challenge • In a way that facilitates collaboration Climate change impacts will make mitigation even more difficult • Harder to retain carbon in soil • Reduce quality of crops and forages • Reduce productivity and yields in already vulnerable regions Challenges significant