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Journal Article

Supply chain disruptions would increase agricultural greenhouse gas emissions


Foong,  Adrian
External Organizations;


Pradhan,  Prajal
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Frör,  Oliver
External Organizations;

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Foong, A., Pradhan, P., Frör, O. (2023): Supply chain disruptions would increase agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. - Regional Environmental Change, 23, 94.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28549
We investigate the impacts of a global crisis to trade systems such as the Russia-Ukraine war on agricultural emissions, using two emissions accounting approaches: (1) the production-based approach, which only accounts for domestic emissions, and (2) the trade-adjustment approach, which considers imports and exports when calculating emissions. We find that global emissions can substantially increase in the crisis scenario. The relative degree of change, however, varies between the two approaches. At the country level, the largest increases are found in several import-dependent countries. Reasons are likely two-fold: (1) high dependence of certain countries on food imports from Russia and Ukraine, and (2) higher emission intensities (i.e., amount of emissions per unit of product) of imported food items relative to emission intensities in Russia and Ukraine. Very few countries show lower emissions in the crisis scenario. Our results thus highlight the urgent need for countries to lower domestic agricultural emission intensities to avoid negative repercussions on their domestic emissions while increasing agricultural production. Concurrently, our findings underscore the benefits of an emissions accounting process that considers trade flows. By reforming food systems and adopting a trade-adjustment approach in emissions accounting, food systems can contribute towards effective climate mitigation as well as become more resilient to global shocks.