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Carbon Footprint of the Agricultural Sector in Qinghai Province, China

1 and 1,2,3,*
1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
2
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3
College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 101408, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(10), 2047; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9102047
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
PDF [1191 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]

Abstract

The agricultural sector has become an important emitter of greenhouse gases in China. The CO2 emissions in the western undeveloped region have attracted less attention than those in the eastern developed region in China. In this paper, the change in carbon footprint (CF) caused by agrochemical and agricultural energy inputs, the contributions of various inputs to the total carbon footprint (TCF), and the different changing trends between carbon intensity in output value (CV) and carbon intensity in area (CA) in Qinghai province were studied based on the data for agrochemical and energy inputs over 1995–2016. The change in TCF had a roughly stable period over 1995–1999, a slowly decreasing period over 2000–2007, and a rapidly increasing period over 2008–2016, which generally synchronize with the periods of before the Grain for Green Policy (GFGP), during the GFGP, and after the GFGP, respectively. The chemical nitrogen fertilizer and energy inputs were the principal factors influencing the TCF. The N fertilizer was the highest contributor to the TCF and contributed more to the relatively lower TCF during the GFGP in the study area. The relative CF caused by plastic film and diesel input in the study area increased faster than that in the whole country. The CV declined, with a mean of 0.022 kg carbon equivalent (CE)/Chinese Yuan (CNY), which was 55.59% of the mean CV in China over 1995–2016; inversely, the CA obviously rose after 2007, with a mean of 5.11 kg CE/ha, which was only 1.94% of the mean CA in China from 1995 to 2016. Compared with the whole country, Qinghai province generally had a higher rate of increase of carbon efficiency accompanied by a higher rate of increase of CA. The improvements of local agricultural activities should aim to keep a balance between higher carbon efficiency and lower CA in the study area.
Keywords: carbon emissions; emission coefficient; agricultural land; agricultural inputs; agricultural policies; Qinghai province carbon emissions; emission coefficient; agricultural land; agricultural inputs; agricultural policies; Qinghai province
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wang, X.; Zhang, Y. Carbon Footprint of the Agricultural Sector in Qinghai Province, China. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 2047.

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