High CO2 emissions reducing nutrients in rice, wheat

  1. According to the IPCC’s special report on Climate Change and Land, increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 can reduce the nutritional quality of staple foods like wheat and rice.
  2. The IPCC report has noted that wheat grown at CO2 levels of 546-586 parts per million (ppm) has 5.9-12.7% less protein, 3.7-6.5% less zinc, and 5.2-7.5% less iron.
  3. Under similar levels of CO2, rice grains has lower protein (7.8%), iron (8%) and zinc (5%).
  4. According to the report, the land sector had been contributing about 5.2 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide every year between 2007 and 2016.
  5. It further notes that the global food production system could account for 16 to 27% of GHG emissions — up to 37%, if factors such as transportation and food processing are included.
  6. It points out that nearly 25% of all food produced is either lost or wasted. And even the decomposition of the waste releases emissions
  7. The report suggests measures such as a) reduction in food wastage, b) sustainable agriculture practices and c) shifting of dietary preferences to include more plant-based food, could reduce GHG emissions and strengthen food security.
  8.  The IPCC report has suggested that insect-based diets could be a more sustainable and nutritious option. Edible insects are high in fat, protein and micronutrients. Further, their production result in lower levels of GHG emissions and water consumption.
  9. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations. It provides policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks. It also puts forward adaptation and mitigation options.