EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mitigation scenarios for methane and nitrous oxide emissions from Indian agriculture sector

Omkar Patange1,2, Pallav Purohit2, Zbigniew Klimont2, Amit Garg1, and Vidhee Avashia1
Omkar Patange et al.
  • 1Public Systems Group, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India (
  • 2Pollution Management Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria

India is now the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world with one of the highest growth-rate of emissions. As a fast-growing major economy, its future emissions trajectory is important for the long-term global goal of restricting the temperature rise to “well below 2 ℃”, compared to pre-industrial levels. In India, emissions from methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) account for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. The agriculture sector contributes to over 70% of these non-CO2 emissions through activities like rice cultivation, livestock rearing (enteric fermentation and manure management) and application of nitrogen fertilizers. On the other hand, the agriculture sector employs two-third of Indian work force. Around 86% farmers fall in the marginal and small (less than 2 hectares) land-holding category and collectively own about 45% of the total agricultural area and around 80% of total cattle. Considering the socio-economic context, reducing emissions from Indian agricultural sector would be a challenge. The subsistence farming, fragmented production and political economy constraints make it difficult to implement the technological and structural interventions to mitigate the non-CO2 emissions. If India is to achieve net-zero GHG emissions in the latter half of the century, mitigation strategies for the agriculture sector need to balance the climate and sustainable development goals.

In this research, we focus on methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the Indian agricultural activities. Our analysis uses the GAINS model which has been widely applied for assessing the mitigation strategies for non-CO2 emissions and multiple air pollutants at regional and global scales. We analyse four mitigation scenarios using different combinations of activities and control measures. For the reference and sustainable policy scenarios, we compare the current policies (often lacking any controls) versus maximum feasible reductions through technological and management control measures to inform the Indian and global climate policy debates. The preliminary results suggest that a combination of sustainable agricultural practices and control measures could reduce the CH4 and N2O emissions by about 30% by 2050 as compared to the reference scenario. This would also contribute to the reduction of ammonia emissions with considerable co-benefits for local air quality and health.

How to cite: Patange, O., Purohit, P., Klimont, Z., Garg, A., and Avashia, V.: Mitigation scenarios for methane and nitrous oxide emissions from Indian agriculture sector, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6410,, 2022.