When both "climate change" and "China" are topics in the same discussion, the focus is typically on energy and manufacturing. While it receives considerably less attention, the agriculture sector is not an insignificant source of emissions. Agriculture accounts for more than 15 percent of China’s total greenhouse gas emissions, nearly 90 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 60 percent of methane emissions. Excessive fertilizer use is not only fueling a major portion of the nitrous oxide emissions but also is raising alarm about water pollution from agriculture. At the same time, however, there is opportunity for China’s agriculture sector to play a role in mitigating against climate change through carbon sequestration and adopting production methods that reduce emissions. In addition, the potential impact of climate change on agricultural production and prices in China could have tremendous implications for both domestic and international markets, due to the sheer size of China’s domestic demand for agricultural products.
This paper by Jinxia Wang, Jikun Huang and Scott Rozelle is the first Issue Brief produced by the IPC-ICTSD Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade to be entirely devoted to one particular country. Given the myriad challenges facing China—developing the economy, eliminating poverty, mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change, and ensuring long-term food security—it is deserving of such specific consideration.
Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz Charlotte Hebebrand Chief Executive, ICTSD President/CEO, IPC