Mitigating climate change with coffee

by on June 30, 2011

The Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) Program of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) recently released results from a research project on mitigating climate change in Mesoamerican coffee production. You can download a PDF of the report, The Potential of Mesoamerican Coffee Production Systems to Mitigate Climate Change. This document is actually the thesis project of a Dutch student. The paper is a straightforward look at the how different shade coffee systems store carbon and their levels of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as how a few certifications (organic, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified) influence those metrics. A very brief synopsis of the results are in this PDF, and a more graphical overview is given in this presentation (also PDF).

Here are two slides from the presentation to whet your appetite (click to enlarge).

Traditional rustic shade has a larger carbon footprint than commercial polyculture because yields are lower per unit area, and all the contributing factors are allocated to less product. Note that biomass (below 0 on x-axis) denotes "credit" subtracted from factors that add to the carbon footprint.

Certifications other than organic don't do much to reduce carbon footprint over conventional farming, suggesting that standards need to be modified to encourage footprint-lowering practices. Note that biomass (below 0 on x-axis) denotes "credit" subtracted from factors that add to the carbon footprint.

For an explanation of these interesting graphs take a look at the full report.  While it is over 100 pages, it is not a difficult read and I especially encourage people to take a look at page 68, which outlines coffee production practices that result in lowered greenhouse gas emissions, and page 70, which gives overall conclusions.

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Revised on February 8, 2013

Posted in Climate change

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

mergia beyene December 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Please let us save organic coffee

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