Spatial analysis of energy use and GHG emissions from cereal production in India

Rao, N ORCID:, Poblete Cazenave, M., Bhalerao, R., Davis, K.F., & Parkinson, S. ORCID: (2019). Spatial analysis of energy use and GHG emissions from cereal production in India. Science of the Total Environment 654 841-849. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.073.

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Project: Energy and emissions thresholds for providing decent living standards to all (DecentLivingEnergy, H2020 637462)


Agriculture contributes 18% of India's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Yet, little is known about the energy requirements of individual crops, making it difficult to link nutrition-enhancing dietary changes to energy consumption and climate change. We estimate the energy and CO2 intensity of food grains (rice, wheat, sorghum, maize, pearl millet and finger millet) taking into account their irrigation requirements, water source, dependence on groundwater, yields, fertilizer and machinery inputs.

Rice is the most energy-intensive cereal, while millets are the least. Total energy use contributes 16% of GHG emissions for rice, due to its high methane emissions, and 56% for wheat. Fertilizer production and use dominates GHG emissions from all crops, contributing 52% of GHGs from cereals. Energy intensities vary by up to a factor of four across the country, due to varying water requirements, irrigation sources and groundwater table depths. The results suggest that replacing rice with other cereals has the potential to reduce energy consumption and GHGs, though the spatial variation of production shifts would influence the extent of this reduction and the possible trade-offs with total production.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agriculture; Energy intensity; Mitigation; Climate change; Cereals
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 07:01
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:31

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