25 Aug 2021

25 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Emissions of greenhouse gases from energy use in agriculture, forestry and fisheries: 1970–2019

Alessandro Flammini1, Xueyao Pan2, Francesco Nicola Tubiello2, Sally Yue Qiu3, Leonardo Rocha Souza4, Roberta Quadrelli5, Stefania Bracco6, Philippe Benoit3, and Ralph Sims7 Alessandro Flammini et al.
  • 1United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Department of Environment, Vienna, Austria
  • 2Food and Agriculture Organization, Statistics Division, Rome, Italy
  • 3Columbia University, Centre on Global Energy Policy, New York, USA
  • 4United Nations Statistics Division, New York, USA
  • 5International Energy Agency, Paris, France
  • 6University of Gastronomic Sciences, Bra, Italy
  • 7Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Abstract. Fossil-fuel based energy use in agriculture leads to CO2 and non-CO2 emissions. We focus on emissions generated within the farm gate for crop and livestock production and from fisheries, providing information relative to the period 1970–2019 for both energy use and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Country-level information is generated from UNSD and IEA data on energy in agriculture, forestry and fishing, relative to use of: gas/diesel oil, motor gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas, fuel oil and coal. Electricity used within the farm gate is also quantified, while recognizing that the associated emissions are generated elsewhere. We find that in 2019, annual emissions from energy use in agriculture were about 523 million tonnes (Mt CO2eq yr−1), and up to 1,029 Mt CO2eq yr−1 when including electricity. They increased 7 % since 1990. The largest emission increases from on-farm fuel combustion were from LPG (32 %), whereas significant decreases were observed for coal (−55 %), natural gas (−50 %), motor gasoline (−42 %) and fuel oil (−37 %). Conversely, use of electricity and the associated indirect emissions increased three-fold over the 1990–2019 period, thus becoming the largest emission source from energy use in agriculture since 2005. Overall the global trends were a result of counterbalancing effects: marked decreases in developed countries in 2019 compared to 1990 (−273 Mt CO2eq yr−1) were masked by slightly larger increases in developing and emerging economies (+339 Mt CO2 eq yr−1). The information used in this work is available as open data at: (Tubiello and Pan, 2021). The relevant FAOSTAT (FAO, 2021) emissions database is maintained and updated annually by FAO.

Alessandro Flammini et al.

Status: open (until 21 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-262', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Sep 2021 reply

Alessandro Flammini et al.

Data sets

On farm energy use FAO

Emissions from energy used in agriculture(on-farm) Tubiello, Francesco, & Pan, Xueyao

Alessandro Flammini et al.


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Short summary
Fossil fuel based energy used in agriculture, for crop and livestock production as well as in fisheries, generates significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG), which are typically not accounted for within the agricuture sector of national GHG inventories. Using activity data from UNSD and IEA we construct a new database of eneegy use in agriculture and related emissions, covering the period 1970–2019 by country and by fossil fuel type, including emissions from electricity used on the farm.