Crop production, livestock production and related land use activities make the agriculture sector one of the largest sources of short-lived climate pollutants. Combined, the agriculture and forestry sectors are responsible for 24% of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, including roughly 40% of global black carbon emissions and half of all anthropogenic methane emissions.

As powerful greenhouse gases and air pollutants, short-lived climate pollutants negatively impact the productivity of some of the world’s most important crops and endanger the health and livelihoods of millions of people.

According to a report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and United Nations Environment (UNEP), actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions - both in the agriculture sector and globally - have the potential to prevent over 50 million tonnes of annual crop losses for the staples corn, rice, soy, and wheat by 2030, leading to total economic gains of US$4-33 billion. These actions can also help slow the rate of global warming by as much as 0.5˚C by 2050 and prevent the nearly two million annual premature deaths linked to air pollution by 2030.

Top facts

The agriculture and forestry sectors (including land use change) contribute approximately 24% of all global greenhouse gas emissions
The agriculture sector is responsible for approximately 40% of global black carbon and anthropogenic methane emissions
Bold action to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions could avoid 52 million tonnes of staple crop losses annually by 2030



The Coalition’s Agriculture Initiative works to advance methane and black carbon abatement and recovery practices within the sector. In addition to helping reduce the rate of near-term warming, these practices can provide immediate co-benefits for public health, food security and economic development, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and low-emissions agricultural development.

Tackling agricultural methane and black carbon emissions is an important objective for many countries, and many of the solutions advanced by the Coalition’s 11 initiatives will lead to increased agricultural productivity and contribute to the implementation of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The Agriculture Initiative focuses its activities on the four largest emission sources in the sector:

  • Enteric fermentation: Methane expelled from livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, etc., as natural part of the digestive process -- responsible for close to 30% of global anthropogenic methane emissions
  • Paddy rice production: Methane emissions from the anaerobic decay of organic material in continuously flooded rice paddies -- responsible for 10% of global anthropogenic methane emissions
  • Livestock and manure management: Methane emissions from the storage of (especially liquid) manure -- responsible for 4% of global anthropogenic methane emissions; and 40% black carbon emissions from the burning of dung as heating and cooking fuel
  • Open burning of agricultural crops: The single largest source of black carbon emissions globally -- responsible for over a third of all emissions, with agricultural fires comprising 10-20% of all open fires


Description of activities

Workstream | Agriculture
Enteric fermentation is a natural part of the digestive process in ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and buffalo. Microbes in the digestive tract, or rumen, decompose and ferment food,...
Ruminant production and enteric methane
Workstream | Agriculture
Poor manure management practices are common on much of the world’s farms, as farmers lack awareness about the value of livestock manure as a fertilizer and fuel. Manure is often disposed of in piles...
Manure management
Workstream | Agriculture
Paddy rice is a staple crop for much of the world’s population. It is also a key source of the greenhouse gas methane, responsible for about 40 million tonnes, or 10% of global emissions , each year...
Paddy rice production
Workstream | Agriculture
Farmers in many parts of the world set fire to cultivated fields to clear stubble, weeds and waste before sowing a new crop. While this practice may be fast and economical, it is highly unsustainable...
Open agricultural burning


In collaboration with the FAO, World Bank and Global Environment Facility, the initiative is supporting three large national livestock management programmes with more than $460 million in Uruguay, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. The programmes will incorporate the mitigation options for the livestock sector assessed by the initiative and have the potential to reduce approximately 4 million tonnes of methane per annum.

5-year milestones:

  • Manure management practice changes identified for Argentina, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Vietnam, and regionally in Central America
  • 3 countries - Vietnam, Bangladesh, Colombia - participate in suitability assessments for alternate wetting and drying rice production
  • Alternatives to open agricultural burning projects started in India and Peru
  • 13 countries developed baseline and mitigation assessments for enteric fermentation in the dairy and livestock sector using the Global Livestock and Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM)
  • Strategic Support Groups created in the Andes and Himalaya countries to help governments and local farmers find alternatives to open burning
  • Tools developed for Vietnam to measure, report, and verify greenhouse gas emissions from paddy rice, and support NDC implementation in the rice sector

Initiative contacts

James Morris,
Partnership & Programme Officer
James.Morris [at] un.org
Catalina Etcheverry,
Agriculture & Bricks Initiative Coordinator
Catalina.Etcheverry [at] un.org

Who's involved

Lead Partner: A Coalition partner with an active role in coordinating, monitoring and guiding the work of an initiative.

Implementer: A Coalition partner or actor receiving Coalition funds to implement an activity or initiative.

Partners (26)


2018 | Policies, Plans & Regulations

The discussion process of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change (FBMC) for Brazil's Nationally Determined Contribution Implementation Proposal (NDC) has been carried out in the nine Thematic...

Brazil's NDC Initial Implementation Proposal
2017 | Guidelines & Tools
Alvarado Bolovich, Víctor; Medrano Tinoco, Jorge; Haro Reyes, José; Gómez Bravo, Carlos

In Peru, more than 70 percent of cattle are in the Sierra under an extensive system of grazing of both natural pastures and cultivated pastures where the national livestock is maintained. In the...

Emission of enteric methane by dairy farming in high Andean area
2017 | Official Statements

The Nationally Determined Contribution (hereinafter NDC) aims at attending the provisions established under the Paris Agreement, as well as to promote adaptation and mitigation measures in Uruguay...

First Nationally Determined Contribution of Uruguay
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