Policy and technological constraints to implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation options in agriculture

Pete Smith, Daniel Martino, Zucong Cai, Daniel Gwary, Henry Janzen, Pushpam Kumar, Bruce McCarl, Stephen Ogle, Frank O'Mara, Charles Rice, Bob Scholes, Oleg Sirotenko, Mark Howden, Tim McAllister, Genxing Pan, Vladimir Romanenkov, Uwe Schneider, Sirintornthep Towprayoon

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

435 Citations (Scopus)


A recent assessment of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has demonstrated significant potential for mitigation, but suggests that the full mitigation will not be realized due to significant barriers to implementation. In this paper, we explore the constraints and barriers to implementation important for GHG mitigation in agriculture. We also examine how climate and non-climate policy in different regions of the world has affected agricultural GHG emissions in the recent past, and how it may affect emissions and mitigation implementation in the future. We examine the links between mitigation and adaptation and drives for sustainable development and the potential for agricultural GHG mitigation in the future.

We describe how some countries have initiated climate and non-climate policies believed to have direct effects or synergistic effects on mitigating GHG emissions from agriculture. Global sharing of innovative technologies for efficient use of land resources and agricultural chemicals, to eliminate poverty and malnutrition, will significantly mitigate GHG emissions from agriculture.

Previous studies have shown that as, less than 30% of the total biophysical potential for agricultural GHG mitigation might be achieved by 2030, due to price- and non-price-related barriers to implementation. The challenge for successful agricultural GHG mitigation will be to remove these barriers by implementing creative policies. Identifying policies that provide benefits for climate, as well as for aspects of economic, social and environmental sustainability, will be critical for ensuring that effective GHG mitigation options are widely implemented in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-28
Number of pages23
JournalAgriculture Ecosystems & Environment
Issue number1-4
Early online date18 Jul 2006
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • greenhouse gas
  • agriculture
  • mitigation
  • cropland management
  • grazing land
  • rice
  • livestock
  • carbon sequestration
  • policy
  • soil carbon sequestration
  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • land-use change
  • climate-change
  • elevated CO2
  • crop producation
  • Kyoto protocol
  • water-use
  • population-growth
  • methane emissions


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