I'm supposed to work on an article today (and yesterday, and tomorrow), but somehow I kept being distracted. Uhm, ok, I kept looking for distraction. Anyways...
Stumbled upon this article yesterday. It's about organic agriculture and global warming. Since I'm an AGW agnostic and can't afford buying organic food, not to mention a devoted reader of Heath and Potter, it's easy to tell where I stand in this issue. But still it's an interesting article with lots of good comments, especially those without a fanatic standpoint for or against organic thingy, plus a wee bit sense of humor.
(note: I refer a lot to the comments in the article so maybe it's better to read through it than clicking on individual links)
I personally think that, despite being a good start point for a discussion and I also tend to agree with the conclusion, the article is not really convincing. That or I myself don't have enough knowledge on that field :P It's easy to lost in numbers. Agriculture does contribute to higher methane and nitrous oxide emission compared to its CO2 contribution. But, as one of the comments pointed out, the percentage of methane and nitrous oxide emission are much lower compared to CO2. Now... if you really want to use that argument, isn't CO2 concentration in the atmosphere only 0.04% (awrite, 383 parts per million), much lower than water vapour? Ah, who am I kidding? I'm an agnostic, rite? ;) But let say that it's true, then here's the manure is already being produced and won't add to the carbon footprint argument.
Life cycle assessment does seem to be the best tool to evaluate whether it is better to go organic or stay with conventional agriculture. My guts tell me that organic agriculture is still somewhat more sustainable. Or at least just healthier.
What I think as (arguably more) important is whether organic agriculture can actually feed the whole planet. No, don't give that Al Gore's economy vs the earth picture. Starvation is a problem of getting food today, not preserve it for our children (If starving people can afford having children. Ah, that's the problem. They do). Organic gardening? You gotta be kidding me! Permaculture is a good concept but still, how practical is it?
And yes, I'd like to see what inorganic food looks like :D