Right now, a researcher's conclusions of a new climate study are circulating in the media, which say that it is better for the climate that we invest in forests and intensive agriculture. But it's not that simple.
The researcher Stefan Wirsenius at Chalmers has been involved in a climate study which, based on a theoretical model of land use, analyzes what is best for the climate. The study is not really about organic farming at all, which Sveriges Radio's Ekoredaktion, which reported on the news, included in a amendment.
Wirsenius, however, has in his own press release concluded that organic food is worse for the climate. Wirsenius assumes from the climate study's theoretical model that the less land we use for food production, the more forest we can have on the planet. And forest, as is well known, binds carbon dioxide.
Based on this hypothetical reasoning, Wirsenius draws the far-fetched conclusionto: “Greater land use in organic farming indirectly leads to large carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This also applies to Swedish soil. Since the world's food production is linked through trade, deforestation in the tropics, for example, is also affected by how we use Swedish agricultural land. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we indirectly contribute to greater deforestation in the world. ” Wirsenius instead advocates intensive cultivation based on fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. It would increase yields and save agricultural land for forest and thus be better for the climate!
However, the climate impact of food production must be seen in a larger whole. Wirsenius advocates agriculture based on fertilizers that require large amounts of fossil energy to be produced and transported, and in addition emit large amounts of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. According to the UN Climate Panel, global fertilizer production accounts for 1,2 percent of the world's all greenhouse gases, which can be compared with aviation, which accounts for 2 percent. Wirsenius also ignores the fact that pesticides damage the biodiversity that is the basis of many vital biological processes on our planet - not least the regulation of temperature, water and climate. The loss of biodiversity risks in the long run backfire on agriculture's ability to produce nutritious food for a growing population.
In addition, we have no shortage of arable land in Sweden - on the contrary. If we increase organic production, it will not lead to devastated rainforest. Land use can not automatically be translated into climate impact. Unlike the intensive conventional agriculture of the tropics, has KRAV in addition, rules stating that the production of crops such as KRAV-labelled soy, sugar cane, coffee and cocoa must not contribute to the deforestation of rainforests.
We who work with organic production are convinced that the food production of the future must be based on sustainable methods that give us living fertile soils, stimulates choline storage, biodiversity, clean water and healthy foods. We are convinced that the way there is not about investing in intensive agriculture that unilaterally ensures a high return.