Increased greenhouse-gas intensity of rice production under future atmospheric conditions

Kees Jan Van Groenigen, Chris Van Kessel, Bruce A Hungate

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66 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increased atmospheric CO2 and rising temperatures are expected to affect rice yields and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from rice paddies 1-4. This is important, because rice cultivation is one of the largest human-induced sources of the potent GHG methane5 (CH 4) and rice is the world's second-most produced staple crop 6. The need for meeting a growing global food demand7 argues for assessing GHG emissions from croplands on the basis of yield rather than land area8-10, such that efforts to reduce GHG emissions take into consideration the consequences for food production. However, it is unclear whether or how the GHG intensity (that is, yield-scaled GHG emissions) of cropping systems will be affected by future atmospheric conditions. Here we show, using meta-analysis, that increased atmospheric CO2 (ranging from 550 to 743 ppmV) and warming (ranging from +0.8°C to +6°C) both increase the GHG intensity of rice cultivation. Increased atmospheric CO 2 increased GHG intensity by 31.4%, because CH4 emissions are stimulated more than rice yields. Warming increased GHG intensity by 11.8% per 1°C, largely owing to a decrease in yield. This analysis suggests that rising CO2 and warming will approximately double the GHG intensity of rice production by the end of the twenty-first century, stressing the need for management practices that optimize rice production while reducing its GHG intensity as the climate continues to change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-291
Number of pages4
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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