Climate change mitigation beyond agriculture: a review of food system opportunities and implications

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A large body of research has explored opportunities to mitigate climate change in agricultural systems; however, less research has explored opportunities across the food system. Here we expand the existing research with a review of potential mitigation opportunities across the entire food system, including in pre-production, production, processing, transport, consumption and loss and waste. We detail and synthesize recent research on the topic, and explore the applicability of different climate mitigation strategies in varying country contexts with different economic and agricultural systems. Further, we highlight some potential adaptation co-benefits of food system mitigation strategies and explore the potential implications of such strategies on food systems as a whole. We suggest that a food systems research approach is greatly needed to capture such potential synergies, and highlight key areas of additional research including a greater focus on low- and middle-income countries in particular. We conclude by discussing the policy and finance opportunities needed to advance mitigation strategies in food systems.

greenhouse gas emissions
food waste
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
Date Published: 
June 2018
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Full Citation: 
Niles, Meredith T., Richie Ahuja, Todd Barker, Jimena Esquivel, Sophie Gutterman, Martin C. Heller, Nelson Mango, Diana Portner, Rex Raimond, Cristina Tirado, and Sonja Vermeulen. (2018) “Climate change mitigation beyond agriculture: a review of food system opportunities and implications.” Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 33(3): 297-308.
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