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European agriculture and global warming

The Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT) has published a report giving the first European overview of the link between agriculture, global warming and climate change. The report states that agriculture is responsible for 8% of the total greenhouse gas emis...
The Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT) has published a report giving the first European overview of the link between agriculture, global warming and climate change. The report states that agriculture is responsible for 8% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents, being the main source of emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.

European agriculture contributes 41% of the total methane emissions, with 37% coming from the waste sector and 21% attributed to energy production. Of the agriculture total, 73% is estimated to come directly from ruminants and 21% from manure. Agriculture is also the source of 41% of the total EU nitrous oxide emissions which compares to 33% from industry and 20% from energy. The bulk of the emissions, some 90%, comes from manure.

Total emissions of these gases are very small compared to CO2 emissions, however they are more powerful and have greater heat retention and thus global warming potential. Over 20 years one tonne of methane will have the same effect as 56 tonnes of CO2 and therefore meaning that the agricultural total represents 8% in CO2 equivalents. The report gives information on emissions per country and states that the overall largest contributors are Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy.
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