8.3.2 Future global trends
Agricultural N2O emissions are projected to increase by 35-60% up to 2030 due to increased nitrogen fertilizer use and increased animal manure production (FAO, 2003). Similarly, Mosier and Kroeze (2000) and US-EPA (2006a; Figure 8.2) estimated that N2O emissions will increase by about 50% by 2020 (relative to 1990). If demands for food increase, and diets shift as projected, then annual emissions of GHGs from agriculture may escalate further. But improved management practices and emerging technologies may permit a reduction in emissions per unit of food (or protein) produced, and perhaps also a reduction in emissions per capita food consumption.
If CH4 emissions grow in direct proportion to increases in livestock numbers, then global livestock-related methane production is expected to increase by 60% up to 2030 (FAO, 2003). However, changes in feeding practices and manure management could ameliorate this increase. US-EPA (2006a) forecast that combined methane emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management will increase by 21% between 2005 and 2020.
The area of rice grown globally is forecast to increase by 4.5% to 2030 (FAO, 2003), so methane emissions from rice production would not be expected to increase substantially. There may even be reductions if less rice is grown under continuous flooding (causing anaerobic soil conditions) as a result of scarcity of water, or if new rice cultivars that emit less methane are developed and adopted (Wang et al., 1997). However, US-EPA (2006a) projects a 16% increase in CH4 emissions from rice crops between 2005 and 2020, mostly due to a sustained increase in the area of irrigated rice.
No baseline agricultural non-CO2 GHG emission estimates for the year 2030 have been published, but according to US-EPA (2006a), aggregate emissions are projected to increase by ~13% during the decades 2000-2010 and 2010-2020. Assuming similar rates of increase (10-15%) for 2020-2030, agricultural emissions might be expected to rise to 8000–8400, with a mean of 8300 MtCO2-eq by 2030. The future evolution of CO2 emissions from agriculture is uncertain. Due to stable or declining deforestation rates (FAO, 2003), and increased adoption of conservation tillage practices (FAO, 2001), these emissions are likely to decrease or remain at low levels.