Land Use Emissions

Emissions from processes involving our land base -- agricultural production, forestry, conversion of one habitat to another -- comprise around 1/3 of total global emissions. What is driving these emissions? Where? More detailed accounting can help us understand the possibilities for mitigation and identify where different types of policy instruments are needed. Perhaps most important, this type of accounting can help quantify what fraction of these emissions are "locked in" -- absolutely necessary for food security and already as low as possible -- to identify key new research frontiers.

We have shown that emissions from land use change (as opposed to other agricultural sources) dominate historical land use emissions, and that investment in yields is a comparatively cheap mitigation strategy (PNAS 2010). We are currently working on a new inventory of land use emissions and their drivers, which requires making different accounting decisions that we've illustrated in a methods paper (Carbon Management, 2014). Finally, we've test-driven this intensification-as-mitigation strategy in a technical potential study in the UK (Nature Climate Change, 2016).

 

Current Projects:

  • Drivers of global and regional land use emissions (Steve Davis, Julia Pongratz, Eberhard Hansis)
  • Inequality and emissions de-coupling (Steve Davis, Fran Moore, Kuishuang Feng)