Climate Change and the Contribution of Agribusiness

636 Words Feb 1st, 2018 3 Pages
Gasoline and diesel fuels are needed to fertilize, till, plant, and control pests until the crops reach maturity (Prasad). Petroleum fuels are needed to bring agriculture products to food manufacturers and markets. Fertilizers, modified seeds, and pest control rely heavily on petroleum products. If petroleum fertilizers alone were eliminated, the yield per acre for corn alone would fall by 433%. What most people fail to realize is that the loss of fossil fuels would be devastating to contemporary farming methods, because renewable energy cannot substitute for the organic chemicals derived from oil and natural gas.
Aside from the scary petroleum dependence of western agriculture methods there is also the contribution that farming makes to global warming. The top four producers of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are the electric power plants (33.5%), transportation (27.7%), industry (18.6%), and agriculture (8.2%) (Takle). The largest contributor to agriculture greenhouse gas emissions is fertilizer (61%), which is produced using ammonia from natural gas. By comparison, the burning of fuels to power machinery represents only 7% of the greenhouse gases produced by farming. The second biggest producer…