GHG emissions along the baseline for different regions and sources
Figure 2. GHG emissions along the baseline for different regions and sources. All calculations are produced with the model, except for the historical emissions from forest conversion in gray, which are sourced from FAOSTAT (2000–2005 average). Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals for total over all emissions sources (see SI available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/8/035019/mmedia). Regional groups are the same as in figure 1. Sub-regional breakdown: NAOC= North America and Oceania; WEU= Western Europe; EEU= Eastern Europe; FSU= Former Soviet Union; BRA: Brazil; RLAM= Rest of South and Central America; EAS= Eastern Asia; SAS= South Asia; SEA: South-East Asia; MENA= North Africa and Middle East; SSA= Sub-Saharan Africa.
In this letter, we investigate the effects of crop yield and livestock feed efficiency scenarios on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and land use change in developing countries. We analyze mitigation associated with different productivity pathways using the global partial equilibrium model GLOBIOM. Our results confirm that yield increase could mitigate some agriculture-related emissions growth over the next decades. Closing yield gaps by 50% for crops and 25% for livestock by 2050 would decrease agriculture and land use change emissions by 8% overall, and by 12% per calorie produced. However, the outcome is sensitive to the technological path and which factor benefits from productivity gains: sustainable land intensification would increase GHG savings by one-third when compared with a fertilizer intensive pathway. Reaching higher yield through total factor productivity gains would be more efficient on the food supply side but halve emissions savings due to a strong rebound effect on the demand side. Improvement in the crop or livestock sector would have different implications: crop yield increase would bring the largest food provision benefits, whereas livestock productivity gains would allow the greatest reductions in GHG emission. Combining productivity increases in the two sectors appears to be the most efficient way to exploit mitigation and food security co-benefits.