You may have seen the study suggesting that organic agriculture actually creates more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional agriculture. The Cornucopia Institute has observed research on this topic often comes from an industrial agriculture viewpoint. For more on this issue, read “Big Ag’s Long Arms in Scientific Research.”
We believe the research published in Nature Communications in October 2019 is based on this biased viewpoint. The researchers did not consider all of the factors involved in greenhouse gas emissions—nor do they claim to. The study has been sensationalized (or weaponized, depending on your background) in the press.
This article in Organic Insider, written by former New York Times food business reporter Stephanie Strom, sheds some light on the research claims. Organic remains the most environmentally friendly food production method with third-party verification.
Why Claims That Organic is Worse for the Environment Do Not Hold Up
by Stephanie Strom
Dominating the headlines recently has been a study out of the UK which claims that organic farming is bad for the environment.
In the report, which assesses the potential changes to net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions if England and Wales shifted to 100% organic food production, it clearly acknowledges that organic farming might contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions “through decreased use of farm inputs and increased soil carbon sequestration.”
Nonetheless, the authors contend that organic’s positive environmental impact “must be set against the need for increased production and associated land conversion elsewhere as a result of lower crop and livestock yields under organic methods.”