Policy and technological constraints to implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation options in agriculture Academic Article uri icon


  • A recent assessment of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has demonstrated significant potential for mitigation, but suggests that the full mitigation will not be realized due to significant barriers to implementation. In this paper, we explore the constraints and barriers to implementation important for GHG mitigation in agriculture. We also examine how climate and non-climate policy in different regions of the world has affected agricultural GHG emissions in the recent past, and how it may affect emissions and mitigation implementation in the future. We examine the links between mitigation and adaptation and drives for sustainable development and the potential for agricultural GHG mitigation in the future. We describe how some countries have initiated climate and non-climate policies believed to have direct effects or synergistic effects on mitigating GHG emissions from agriculture. Global sharing of innovative technologies for efficient use of land resources and agricultural chemicals, to eliminate poverty and malnutrition, will significantly mitigate GHG emissions from agriculture. Previous studies have shown that as less than 30% of the total biophysical potential for agricultural GHG mitigation might be achieved by 2030, due to price- and non-price-related barriers to implementation. The challenge for successful agricultural GHG mitigation will be to remove these barriers by implementing creative policies. Identifying policies that provide benefits for climate, as well as for aspects of economic, social and environmental sustainability, will be critical for ensuring that effective GHG mitigation options are widely implemented in the future. 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment

altmetric score

  • 19

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, P., Martino, D., Cai, Z., Gwary, D., Janzen, H., Kumar, P., ... Rice, C.

citation count

  • 382

complete list of authors

  • Smith, Pete||Martino, Daniel||Cai, Zucong||Gwary, Daniel||Janzen, Henry||Kumar, Pushpam||McCarl, Bruce||Ogle, Stephen||O’Mara, Frank||Rice, Charles

publication date

  • January 2007