Organic farming produces more carbon emissions because it takes up more land, study finds

(The Independent, 23 Oct 2019) If England and Wales moved to a 100 per cent organic diet, food yields would be reduced by 40 per cent.

Organic farming produces more carbon emissions than traditional methods because it takes up a significantly greater amount of land, according to a study.

If England and Wales moved to a 100 per cent organic diet, food yields would be reduced by 40 per cent, scientists found. That would force more land overseas to be converted for farming to compensate, researchers said.

Organic farming – often touted as a more environmental alternative to traditional methods - does result in more carbon being stored in the soil but overall would result in an increase in emissions, according to the study published in Nature Communications

Researchers said there were still benefits to organic farming but it needed to be combined with conventional methods.

Guy Kirk, a professor of soil systems at Cranfield University in Bedford, said: “Although there are undoubted local environmental benefits to organic farming practices, including soil carbon storage, reduced exposure to pesticides and improved biodiversity, we need to set these against the requirement for greater production elsewhere.”

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The Independent, 23 Oct 2019: Organic farming produces more carbon emissions because it takes up more land, study finds