Mexico’s Agriculture Sector Contributed 3.5% of Global Agricultural Emissions in 2021

Mexico ranks #11 in global food production, which means that agriculture represents a very attractive market for the economy, but at the same time; a trigger for environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

In this article, we will analyze the trend of gases emitted from 2015 to 2021 in the agriculture sector. The data was obtained from the Climate Trace emissions inventory tool.

There are different types of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2 O). To measure the carbon footprint, we use Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2 e), which refers to a unit of measurement in tons that measures the aforementioned gases.

An interesting fact is that in both 2021 and 2015, 0.10B tons of CO2e were emitted in Mexico, considering the global warming potential in 100 years (CO2 e 100). Then, what has happened in these six years?

The following chart could be the answer. Even though the same amount of GHG was emitted, each gas plays an important role within the general figure.

Gas 2015 2021
  M TONNES EMMITED % of global agriculture emissions M TONNES EMMITED % of global agriculture emissions
Carbon Dioxide 7.67 2.7% 6.26 3.5%
Methane 2.33 1.7% 2.43 1.7%
Nitrous Oxide 0.10 1.9% 0.11 1.9%

We can see that CO2 emissions decreased from the base year (2015) to the comparison year (2021); however, the percentage it occupies within the global emissions in the agriculture sector increased. Regarding Methane and Nitrous Oxide emissions, there was a small increase, however, the percentage they occupy within global emissions in the agriculture sector remained constant.

The agriculture sector is made up of different subsectors, such as cropland fires, enteric fermentation, manure management, rice cultivation and synthetic fertilizer application. In Mexico, the subsector that produces the most CO2 e emissions is enteric fermentation, which refers to the process of breaking down food in the digestive system of animals. In 2021, 64.4 M tons of CO2 e 100 were emitted, which is equivalent to 2.3% of global emissions from enteric fermentation, positioning Mexico in the #8 place for global emissions in this subsector.

The agricultural sector grows increasingly in Mexico, while other sectors such as services grow more slowly or even have decreased, as is the case of industrial activities. It is important to mention that the agricultural sector in Mexico represents 10% of the Gross Domestic Product; according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA by their initials in Spanish).

Undoubtedly, agriculture is an essential factor for the Mexican economy, since the development of local markets helps to encourage production and national and international commercialization while providing quality conditions for society. A transition to sustainable agricultural practices,  in which caring for the environment should be a priority for Mexico, in order to obtain the maximum commercial benefit with the least possible environmental costs.


This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Necoechea Porras

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