|Rice Crop - Clouds of colourless CO2|
rising in the background.
Irrigation - The Big Carbon Elephant In The Global Warming Room
Rice and wheat take a lot of water to grow and no one eats more than China. That also means no one contributes more to global warming from irrigation than China - a whopping 30 million tons of CO2 per year just from the pumping systems China uses.Does that mean that the UN will impose sanctions on the major rice-eating nations of the world?
Like everywhere, water usage has gone up in China with the surge in population. Groundwater used for crop irrigation in China has grown from 10 billion cubic meters in 1950 to more than 100 billion today. The pumping systems which support this immense irrigation network annually produce 33.1 MtCO2e (33.1 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), claims a new study.
How do they know? You can't even count the people in China because by the time you finish counting, the number has changed a lot so counting water is just as hard. They used survey data collected from 366 villages in 11 provinces and then up-scaled those results to calculate the emissions created by groundwater pumping across China's remaining 20 provinces.