Can GM crops help the fight against climate change?
Through the use of low- and no-till farming methods, fuel use and CO2 emissions can be decreased thanks to less tillage. In 2009, this led to global emissions reductions of 17.7 billion kg of CO2, equivalent to 7.8 million fewer cars on the road for one year.
GM crops can help farmers fight climate change in the following ways:
- Less fuel consumption on farms due to a reduced need to spray crops.
- Better carbon sequestration. With less tillage or ploughing, over time soil quality is enhanced and becomes carbon-enriched since more crop residue can be left on the fields. In addition, since the soil is not inverted by ploughing, less carbon in the soil will be released into the athmosphere.
- Reduced fertilizer use and N2O emissions. Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential 296 times greater than carbon dioxide. And it stays in the athmosphere for more than 100 years. These emissions can be limited by reduced fertilizer use, which will also mean less water pollution.