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Impact assessment of energy utilization in agriculture for India and Pakistan
- Ali, Mustafa, Geng, Yong, Robins, Dawn, Cooper, Dave, Roberts, Will
- The Science of the total environment 2019 v.648 pp. 1520-1526
- acidification, affordability, coal, crop production, ecological footprint, ecosystems, electric energy consumption, electricity, electricity generation, environmental impact, eutrophication, global warming potential, human health, humans, life cycle impact assessment, population growth, sustainable agriculture, toxicity, India, Pakistan
- Sustainable food production is a key concern across countries in South Asia. Most assessments of sustainable agriculture in this region focus on the availability and affordability of resource inputs. However, studies accounting for environmental footprint of agricultural activities in South Asian countries are limited in the existing literature. This paper analyzed the environmental impact of energy utilization in agriculture in India and Pakistan. More specifically, the study analyzes the trends of fuel and electricity consumption for crop production in these countries during a ten-year period between the years 2002 and 2011. Life cycle impact assessment categories including global warming potential, human toxicity, acidification and eutrophication were used to holistically analyze the end-user impact of energy consumption. Results indicated an increase in these impacts for both countries during the study period. On a per hectare basis, the assessed impacts were relatively greater in India than in Pakistan during the study period. The main reason behind larger impacts in India was its significantly greater use of coal for electricity generation. Overall, this study showed that further electrification of agriculture will not necessarily lead to cleaner environment in these countries. Due to high population growth rates, energy consumption for agriculture is expected to grow in these countries in the future. Unless cleaner sources of electricity are used, further energy intensification in agriculture will be detrimental to ecosystem and human health, which in turn will be counterproductive for sustainable agriculture.