Emissions discussion with Henry Neufeldt at CGIAR

November 11, 2014

 

FDear Henry,Thank you for our quick response. Can I take this to mean that CGIAR will be moving its estimates to align with the IPCC, Chapter 11? We have been using this source as well.We non-specialists are overjoyed by all efforts of specialists to reach general agreement, or least to explain to us non-specialists the differing assumptions behind the estimates.Please put us on a list to be notified if CGIAR updates its estimates.Sincerely, FrancesNeufeldt, Henry (ICRAF)Tue 11/11/2014 1:44 PMTo:Frances Moore Lappé;Cc:Rachel Gilbert;Ashley Higgs;Dear Frances,Things are not as simple as they may appear. I suggest you use the newest IPCC report chapter 11 to get the most up-to-date information on how agriculture, forests and other land uses contribute to climate change and by how much different elements of food systems can contribute to mitigation.Have fun!HenryFrom: Frances Moore LappéDate: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 18:23:34 +0000To: henry neufeldtCc: Rachel Gilbert , Ashley HiggsSubject: Your help guidance needed... Questions about 3 CGIAR GHG estimatesHello again, Henry,Thank you once more for your assistance. In additional to sequestration, we continue to try to settle on responsible estimates of GHGs from agriculture and the entire food system, from land to landfill.Today we revisited the CGIAR website and discovered these estimated % contributions:19-29% entire food system14-24% agriculture (of which 30% to 50% is deforestation/land use change)14.5% livestockOur questions are:1. FAO says livestock represent nearly 2/3rd of the agricultural sector’s GHGS. Thus, agriculture’s minimum contribution would have to be about 19% not 14%, would it not?2. Would that shift mean that agriculture’s range would shift to 19-29%? (We note that this would push the estimate closer to the roughly one-third that we’ve used from Jonathan Foley. Citation is below.)3. In agriculture, adding deforestation at 50% (CGIAR high end estimate) of 24 means that 12% of agricultural emissions are from land use change and deforestation. Then, if you add to 14.5% for livestock, the total is 26.5% just deforestation/land use change and livestock. These two pieces would above your top estimate for agriculture as a whole. Even at CGIAR’s lowest estimate of 30% for deforestation and land use change would leave virtually nothing to account for the rest of agriculture.4. Now to the food system: If agriculture alone is in the range of 19-29%, then it would seem that all the other elements including fertilizer manufacture, agriculture, processing, packaging [which is energy intensive but not on the CGIAR list], transport, retail, household food management and waste disposal together would come to a total approaching 40% at least. We note that that FAO estimates that food waste alone equals about 6 percent of GHGe (3.3 Gigatons).Thank you for any light you can shed. We deeply appreciate your time and care.FrancesJONATHAN FOLEY:[1]Jonathan A. Foley et al., “Solutions for a cultivated planet,” Nature 478, (2011): 338, doi:10.1038/nature10452Frances Moore Lappé | Small Planet InstituteLiving Democracy, Feeding Hope | 25 Mt. Auburn Street,# 203, Cambridge, MA 02138 617.871.6609www.smallplanet.org | HuffingtonPost Blog | @fmlappe | See latest Small Planet news!And don’t miss Anna Lappé’s Real Food Media fascinating food films.From: Neufeldt, Henry (ICRAF) [mailto:H.Neufeldt@CGIAR.ORG]Sent: Monday, November 10, 2014 11:42 AMTo: Frances Moore LappéCc: Ashley HiggsSubject: Re: Seeking your expert guidanceDear Frances, you are very welcome. Your idea to cite the Aertsens et al paper and refer to European agricultural mitigation potentials only sounds good. Regards, HenryFrom: Frances Moore LappéDate: Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:13:05 +0000To: henry neufeldtCc: Ashley HiggsSubject: RE: Seeking your expert guidanceDear Dr.Neufeldt,You are very kind to save us from error.We are not planning now to include a specific agroforestry estimate but a range. If you think it is credible, we will cite this specific study as suggestive: Joris Aertsens, Leo De Nocker, and Anne Gobin, "Valuing the carbon sequestration potential for European agriculture," Land Use Policy, 31 (2013): 584-594, accessed June 4, 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.09.003.As to the organic farming and pasture estimate, we are going back to the drawing board. We’ve been quite critical of the Rodale Institute’s recent claim that it could sequester 100% of GHGs. We are attempting to come to a more credible estimate, even if it is a wide range.With gratitude for your help, Frances Moore LappéFrances Moore Lappé | Small Planet InstituteLiving Democracy, Feeding Hope | 25 Mt. Auburn Street,# 203, Cambridge, MA 02138 617.871.6609www.smallplanet.org | HuffingtonPost Blog | @fmlappe | See latest Small Planet news!And don’t miss Anna Lappé’s Real Food Media fascinating food films.From: Neufeldt, Henry (ICRAF) [mailto:H.Neufeldt@CGIAR.ORG]Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2014 11:32 AMTo: Frances Moore LappéCc: Ashley HiggsSubject: Re: Seeking your expert guidanceDear Frances and Ashley,I have looked at your estimates for the technical potentials and in both cases they are based on one publication that describes the mitigation potential. That can hardly be the basis for a global estimate. Differences between regions and the types of agricultural systems are not reflected. Soil carbon also tends to saturate hence the potential, if it exists, is finite. There are also non-linear effects such as increase in land to offset reduced productivity of organic systems. Etc. For the agroforestry data there is a range given but you use the upper limit to calculate your potential. That's just wrong.In addition, technical potentials, however you define them, have very little significance for the real world and are not helpful in creating a credible cause for agroforestry, organic agriculture or any other agricultural practice. Market or real potentials tend to be magnitudes lower than technical potentials.Do me a favor: please do not put any of your current ideas on paper! Unfortunately, I cannot help you further.RegardsFrom: Frances Moore LappéDate: Tue, 4 Nov 2014 17:40:43 +0000To: henry neufeldtCc: Ashley HiggsSubject: Seeking your expert guidanceHello Dr. NeufeldtWe are writing to you by the suggestion of Dr. Joris Aertsens, with whom we have been in contact concerning questions on the technical sequestration potential of agroforestry. Noting that you are an expert in the field, he recommended we also reach out to you.I am currently re-writing, with co-author Joe Collins, our 1998 book World Hunger: 12 Myths, and the new version includes an important piece on the sequestration potential of farming practices. Working with my research assistant Ashley Higgs (and with help from several other scientists) we estimate that the technical sequestration potential of agroforestry adopted globally is equivalent to roughly 16% of total anthropogenic emissions in 2010. We also find the technical sequestration potential of organic practices adopted globally on farms and pastures to be equivalent to about 20% of emissions. We have been told that these numbers do not overlap because they are fairly additive.Given this, we conclude that combined, agroforestry and organic practices have the technical potential to sequester the equivalent of roughly one-fifth to one-third of total emissions if adopted on a global scale. Does this rough estimate the range of global technical potential of these combined practices seem reasonable to you?We have attached an explanation of our numbers and data and would greatly appreciate any feedback you could offer. Thank you so much for your time and your work on agroforestry.With gratitude,Frances Moore Lappé and Ashley HiggsHenry Neufeldt, e-mail message to author, November 11, 2014.CGIAR, "Food Emissions," accessed November 11, 2014, http://ccafs.cgiar.org/bigfacts2014/#theme=food-emissions&subtheme=direc...

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