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Does certified organic farming reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production? Comment on the McGee study

Müller, Adrian; Aguilera, Eduardo; Skinner, Colin and Gattinger, Andreas (2016) Does certified organic farming reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production? Comment on the McGee study. Agriculture and Human Values, 33 (2), pp. 1-5.

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Online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10460-016-9706-3

Summary

A recent study by McGee (Agriculture and Human Values, 32, 255–263, 2015) from the University of Oregon has led to discussions in international media and on the web. This study addresses an interesting question and applies advanced statistics for its analysis. However, we identify several methodological flaws that invalidate the results. First, McGee tests a hypothesis that does not correspond to his main question and which does not allow McGee to derive the conclusions that are drawn in his paper and reported in the media coverage. Second, the data used are not adequate for the analysis because: i) the dependent variable does not reflect the greenhouse gas emissions characteristics of organic agriculture (e.g. different emission factors in organic and conventional agriculture or avoidance of emissions from fertilizer production), ii) the explanatory variables neglect the livestock sector, and iii) trade aspects are missing. Third, McGee fails to discuss his findings in the light of quite a substantial body of experimental, bio-physical research from the US and elsewhere.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Department of Soil Sciences, Climate impact and Organic Agriculture, Department of Socio-Economic Sciences, Polics, Organic farming, Greenhouse gas emissions , Conventionalization
Subjects: Crop husbandry
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil Sciences
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate Change
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics > Agripolicy
ISSN:0889-048x
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/themes/climate-change.html
Deposited By: Muller, Adrian
ID Code:30373
Deposited On:08 Jul 2016 12:01
Last Modified:08 Jul 2016 12:01
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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