Interplays Between Methane Emission and Agricultural Output: Time Series Outcomes for the World's Low- to High-Income Groups

Interplays Between Methane Emission and Agricultural Output: Time Series Outcomes for the World's Low- to High-Income Groups

Ramesh Chandra Das (Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, India) and Arundhati Mukherjee (Berhampore Girls' College, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2020100105
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Abstract

There have been debates among the so-called developed economies and less developed and emerging economies on the issue of ‘who is responsible for' the emission of excessive greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the ambient environment. While methane emissions from agriculture and livestock is one of the important elements of GHGs, it is also required for growth of the agriculture and allied activities for all economic categories. The present study, under this backdrop, examines long run and short run linkages between methane emissions and agriculture outputs for high and low to upper middle-income countries for the period 1981-2012. The results show that the series of methane emissions and agriculture output are cointegrated in the 15 member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) group, low income and middle income countries signifying the responsibilities of these income groups in methane emissions. The responsible countries in the OECD are USA, UK, Japan, Germany, and Italy. Further, in short run dynamics, the Granger Causality results show that methane emissions make a cause to agriculture output for 15OECD and low-income countries, and agricultural output is a cause to methane generation for middle and all low to upper middle income countries. China, India, and Brazil cannot be blamed for making excessive methane generation as both the series are not cointegrated for them.
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Introduction

Most of the conferences on environment at the global level to deal with vibrant climate change so far have been ended up with inconclusive results and discussions because of conflicts of interests among different economies. There have been debates among the so-called developed economies and less developed and emerging economies till date on the issue of ‘who is responsible for emissions of excessive greenhouse gases’ (GHGs) into the ambient environment. While methane emission from agriculture and live stocks is one of the important elements of GHGs, it is also an important input for growth of the agriculture and allied activities for all categories of economies. As per the data released by the World Bank, the contribution of methane to total volume of GHGs emissions is 8 per cent and out of total volume of methane emission, agriculture production contributes about 9 per cent and livestock contributes about 25-30 per cent. Again, the observations by Metz et al. (2007) and Tubiello et al. (2013) provide that agriculture is a major contributor to GHGs emissions through crop cultivation, livestock, and land use changes. These sources altogether account for about one-third of total anthropogenic GHG emissions, and 80 per cent of them are located in developing countries. Hence, from the viewpoints of the environmentalists and policy makers at the global level, controlling of methane emission is also one of the important agendas to reduce overall GHGs. The methane emission can be reduced by controlling live stocks population, improving agricultural technology, etc. But who will bear the responsibility of this crime?

The 700 crore population feeding the planet is assumed to be saved from its accelerated decay so far as the deal in the COP21 Paris Summit on Climate Change is concerned. Continuing for two weeks of dialogues among delegates from 187 countries in the aftermath of terrorists’ attacks upon the host country, France, ended on the December 12, 2015, that the world members have unanimously agreed to reduce the temperature generated from GHGs, mainly the carbon dioxide and methane due to combustions of fossil fuels and agriculture and allied activities, up to 20C by the year 2030. The issue of reducing the GHGs has been long due since the Rio summit in 1992 and ended in the last summit at Copenhagen six years ago. No member countries were agreed to reduce the GHGs as there were always a conflict of interests among the developed and developing and backward nations. The so-called developed nations were in support of insisting upon the developing and backward nations to impose all conditions upon them in respect of global warming under the plea of using raw technology by them that intensifies the carbon and methane emission. The countries of the developing and backward zones were growing at a high rate that became the eye pointer of the developed nations. As a result of this blame there were several incidences of suicides made by the peoples of the backward and developing zones around the venues of the climate change conferences, what happened overnight of the Paris Summit that all the present countries in the summit unanimously agreed to reduce the GHGs so that the intensity of global warming could be halted and the world to be converted into an emission free zone. The so-called developed countries accepted, rather bowed down to the demands of financial packages made by the developing and backward countries to substantiate the loss of production and growth of GDP due to low emission and combustion of fossil fuel. The environmental ground makes it true since in the recent past the vagaries of nature have trembled most of the developed countries, particularly the US and China. On the other hand, the economic ground may be that the developed countries can now board their energy efficient technologies to the developing world for substituting their domestic pollution intensive products to follow the agreements of the summit. India, having fourth position in total GHGs emissions in the world, China and USA in the first and second positions, have accepted the outcome of the summit and committed to reduce about 30 per cent of GHGs by 2030.

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