Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Since 1961, higher yielding crops overall have prevented 590 billion tonnes of carbon emissions through land conservation.
Herbicide-tolerant biotech crops and crop protection products decrease the need for tillage, which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1) capturing atmospheric carbon in healthy soils and converting it into organic matter; 2) reducing farm equipment fuel use and related emissions; and 3) decreasing the application of nitrogen, much of which is made from fossil fuels and applied with fossil fuel-burning equipment. In 2010 alone, the amount of carbon dioxide saved by no-till biotech crops was equivalent to removing 9 million cars from the road for a year.
In addition, crop protection products and existing biotech traits like herbicide tolerance and disease resistance indirectly reduce GHG emissions by increasing yields, thereby preventing the conversion of carbon-rich forests into farmland. Since 1961, higher yielding crops overall have prevented 590 billion tonnes of carbon emissions through land conservation. While crop protection products are largely credited for yield improvements worldwide, they contribute only a small percentage (<1-4%) to the overall carbon footprint of crop cultivation.