Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Horticulture
What emissions are produced by horticultural activities?
The horticulture industry produces approximately 1% of total agricultural emissions in Australia (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2007). According to national methodologies, fertilisers are the only source of emissions from horticulture, however horticultural activities also cause other indirect emissions. The key sources of direct and indirect emissions from horticulture are:
- fuel and electricity = ~70% of total emissions
- nitrogenous fertilizers and animal manures = ~20%
- Waste and refrigerant loss to the atmosphere = ~10%
Despite such small net emissions, it is still important for horticultural enterprises to understand where emissions come from and how they can be abated, as:
- emissions intensity per hectare of land is equivalent to or even greater than other agricultural industries
- there are potential opportunities for growers to increase efficiencies and thus reduce input costs on farm, e.g.
- minimising tillage operations and better managing nitrogen fertiliser applications, will reduce fertiliser costs and nitrous oxide emissions as well as potential nitrate runoff into waterways
- more efficient fuel and electricity use will reduce both input costs and carbon dioxide emissions.
There is a range of greenhouse gas accounting tools that can be used to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from horticulture, including specific tools for Vegetable and Orchard growers.
Horticulture Australia Limited has developed a series of discussion papers on carbon footprinting and options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the Australian vegetable industry.
The Horticulture Industry Network (HIN) is an initiative aimed at strengthening working partnerships between the department and the horticulture industry to deliver better services to farmers.
Acknowledgements: Peter Deuter and the HAL website.