Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet the 2°C target

E Wollenberg, M Richards, P Smith, P Havlik, M Obersteiner, F.N. Tubiello, M. Herold, P Gerber, S Carter, A Reisinger, D van Vuuren, A. Dickie, H Neufeldt, B O Sander, R Wassmann, R Sommer, J E Amonette, A Falcucci, M Herrero, C OpioR. R. Roman-Cuesta, E Stehfest, H Westhoek, I Ortiz-Monasterio, T Sapkota, M C Rufino, P K Thornton, L Verchot, P C West, J. F. Soussana, T Baedeker, Marc Sadler, S Vermeulen, B M Campbell

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More than 100 countries have pledged to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Richards et al., 2015a) in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Yet technical information about how much mitigation is needed in the sector versus how much is feasible remains poor. We propose a preliminary global target for reducing emissions from agriculture in 2030 of ~1 GtCO2e/yr by 2030 to limit warming to 2°C. Plausible agricultural development pathways that include mitigation deliver only 15 to 21% of needed mitigation. More transformative technical and policy options will be needed, such as methane inhibitors and finance for new practices. A more comprehensive target for the 2°C limit should be developed to include soil carbon and agriculture-related mitigation options. Excluding agricultural emissions from mitigation will increase the cost of mitigation in other sectors or reduce the feasibility of meeting the 2°C limit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3859-3864
Number of pages6
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number12
Early online date17 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Funded by European Union (EU)


  • agriculture
  • climate change
  • Integrated assessment modelling
  • mitigation
  • policy
  • target
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


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