Fertilizers and climate change

Listen to our latest webinar with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to learn about the solutions fertilizers are bringing to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Fertilizers play two essential roles in the fight against climate change.

First, they forestall deforestation, as they allow for increased productivity on arable land. They help maintain the integrity of globe’s forests, which are important carbon sinks. In the context of climate change, this is crucial, as deforestation and loss of peatlands, wetlands and grasslands combined represent about 10% of global GHG emissions, not to mention considerable damages to the ecosystem.

Sustainable intensification of agriculture productivity on arable land has already managed to preserve 1 billion hectares of land between 1961-2005, and more can be achieved through the implementation of best management practices in fertilizer use.

Second, they also increase the carbon sequestration potential of agricultural soils by contributing to the building up of soil organic matter (SOM). SOM importantly facilitates higher nutrient uptake by plants, and increased plant growth absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere.

Soils deserve special attention - they can store up to 50-300 tonnes of carbon per hectare, which is equivalent to 180-1100 tons of CO2! 89% of agriculture’s future mitigation potential is based on soil carbon sequestration.

Carbon sequestration in cultivated soil can be increased by adding appropriate organic and mineral nutrients for biomass production, as well as by reducing tillage, and using cover crops.

In order to maximize carbon sequestration in soil organic matter, the fertilizer industry advocates the integrated use of available plant nutrients (organic and inorganic) to improve crop and biomass production.

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Farming First

IFA fully supports Farming First, a global coalition for sustainable agricultural development.
Farming First now has a dedicated page to Climate Smart Agriculture.

Be sure to read IFA’s contribution, “the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship

GAFSA - Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture

IFA is also an active member of GASCA- the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. GASCA was launched during the UN Climate Summit of 2014. Its vision is to improve people’s food security and nutrition in the face of climate change. In 2016, GASCA launched a new Climate-Smart Agriculture portal:

This portal is a guide to climate-smart agriculture, explaining the basics of climate-smart agriculture and giving advice on how to develop a CSA plan.

Visit the guide here.

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