A new study says that annual carbon emissions from global agriculture can be reduced by as much as 50-90% by 2030. Among the recommended reforms is changing our food consumption patterns, which could eliminate the equivalent of 2,150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Agriculture accounts for roughly one-fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, when you take into account the entire production cycle that is required to put food on your plate—including deforestation to make room for land, transporting meat and vegetables and using petroleum to produce fertilizer.
The new report, published by the Climate and Land Use Alliance, examines these and other issues worldwide, identifying what it considers the best opportunities to mitigate climate change.
As this chart shows, the biggest source of emissions is our current dietary choices (notably our fondness for beef), at second place is the growing level of carbon sequestration on cropland, followed by enteric fermentation (methane from the stomachs of cows and other ruminant livestock) and then waste in the food chain.
For more detailed charts, that break down these issues sector by sector, and country by country, you can read the full report, Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change in Agriculture.