Growing rice - high production of rice causing heavy greenhouse gas emission - Seeker's Thoughts

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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Growing rice - high production of rice causing heavy greenhouse gas emission

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Climate threat by rice cultivation
Rice farming across the world could be responsible for up twice the level of climate impact while previously it was estimated to be half.

According to a study conducted in India has published by PNAS found that due to high cultivation of rice methane and nitrous oxide are produced more, which are the part of greenhouse gases. Therefore, it can be concluded that the rice cultivation impacts upon the climate. 
How does it impact?
Methane in rice paddies is produced by microscopic organisms that respire CO2, or in simple word organisms inhale co2 as humans use oxygen. 
More Co2 in the atmosphere makes rice plants grow faster and the extra plant growth supplies soil microorganisms extra energy. 
The rice field or paddy field which is filled non continuously with water emits 45 times more nitrous oxide and high amount of methane gas  that the field which is given water  continuously.  This was practiced in various countries like China. 
Since 2000, rice farmers in China have begun to drain the rice paddies instead of flooding them in the middle of the growing season as well as using different fertilizers, which was thought to reduced methane emissions significantly. 
According to a global analysis by Environmental Defence Fund in the US, methane and nitrous oxide emission from rice fields could have the same long-term warming impact as about 600 coal plants emit poisoness gasses. 
The full climate impact of rice cultivation has been significantly ignored because up to this point, nitrous dioxide emission from paddy field was not included.
What research found?
The researchers found that methane and nitrous oxide emission are correlated and equally responsible for greenhouse gas emission
Water and organic matter management techniques that reduce methane emission can increase nitrous oxide emission, the team found. It is a crucial issue for concern because nitrous oxide is long-lived green house gas that traps several times more heat in the atmosphere than methane over both 20- and 100-years times frames.

Read about ozone depletion
Importance of rice in India  and the globe

Rice is the staple crop in India, and every day millions of Indians find comfort in it. With a high carbohydrate content, it is known to provide instant energy.

Certain verities of rice crop were first domesticated in the area that is now north-east India. There are some verities that are ascertained to have originated in southern china that were later introduced to India. 

It is also said that the word rice finds its origin in the Tamil word ‘Arise’.

India is not only leading consumer of rice crop but also its second largest producer in the world, lagging china. 
This much growth is linked to the efforts made during the green revolution to increase yield which ushered in an era of higher productivity and cultivation. 
Note – Rice cultivation covers 11%of the Earth’s arable land, consumes one -third of irrigation water.
A part of the rise in global consumption is the result of population growth. The U.N. projects that world population will increase 41 percent by 2050, to 8.9 billion people, with nearly all of this growth in developing countries.
This surge in human numbers threatens to offset any savings in resource use from improved efficiency, as well as any gains in reducing per-capita consumption. Even if the average American eats 20 percent less meat in 2050 than in 2000, total U.S. meat consumption will be 5 million tons greater in 2050 due to population growth.


Conclusion
This is a serious concern around the globe. Every country should find out and do more researches to solve this major problem which can be very harmful for the climate. Farmers should chose better farming techniques based on researches. 
Other recommended options put forth by scientists include switching to rice varieties that are more resistant to heat and making changes to the planting and harvesting dates. 
However, through a more integrated approach to rice paddy irrigation and fertilizer application substantial reductions remain possible. 
Many rice varieties can be grown under much drier conditions than those traditionally employed, with big reductions on methane emission without any loss in yeild.

Additionally, there is the great potential for improved varieties of rice, able to produce a much larger crop per area of rice paddy and so allow for a cut in the area of rice paddies, without a cut in rice production. 

Finally, the addition of compounds such as ammonium sulphate, which favour activity of other microbial groups over that of the methanogens, has proved successful under some conditions.
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