Researchers have identified a disturbing cycle of greenhouse gases and global warming in rice agriculture. Rice is grown all over the world and is a staple food for much of the population. It turns out however, that higher temperatures and rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are causing agricultural rice to release a significantly greater amount of CH4 (methane), a greenhouse gas.
“Together, higher CO2 concentrations and warmer temperatures predicted for the end of this century will about double the amount of CH4 emitted per kilogram of rice produced.,” said Professor Chris Van Kessel of UC-Davis. He added that, “because global demand for rice will increase further with a growing world population, our results suggest that without additional measures, the total CH4 emissions from rice agriculture will strongly increase…”
What measures can be taken to combat these emissions? The researchers suggest adjusting sowing dates and switching to more heat-tolerant rice cultivars. In other words humans must enact agricultural damage control, overriding natural selection to minimize the risks of excessive methane in the atmosphere.