Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from activities connected to growing and consuming food have been significantly underestimated, and may be twice as large as previously thought, new research finds.

Why it matters: Agriculture is already known to be one of the largest contributors to human-caused global warming. If the sector's emissions are larger than thought, it could mean the world will see more warming than anticipated.

Driving the news: Through a series of research reports and commentary published in the journal Environmental Research Letters on Tuesday, scientists mapped out which parts of the food system are the most emissions intensive, which provides a blueprint for prioritizing emissions reduction efforts.

  • The analysis of global food system emissions finds that activities connected to food production and consumption -- everything from chopping down forests to clear land for cattle to transporting food from a farm to the grocery store, amounted to the equivalent of 16 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018.
  • This was one-third of the human-produced total that year, with the majority coming from the burning of fossil fuels for energy. It was also an increase of about 8% compared to 1990.
  • The analysis, which includes country-specific emissions inventories, was produced by scientists at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, NASA, New York University, and Columbia University.

The findings: The study looks at all emissions linked to the life cycle of food, from growing it to putting it on your plate. It therefore considers emissions from food-adjacent activities.

  • Researchers found that the largest source of food system-related emissions between 1990-2018 was converting natural ecosystems to agricultural croplands or pastures, at about 3 billion metric tons per year.
  • During the 1990 to 2018 study period, land use change emissions decreased while pre- and post-production emissions, which includes making fertilizers, transporting food, disposing of waste, as well as refrigeration, increased.
  • Per capita emissions from food systems emissions decreased during the study period, but was nearly twice as high in developed countries as they were in the developing world.
  • In total, global emissions of greenhouse gases that are connected to the food sector may comprise between 20 to 40% of global emissions, the study found.

Of note: The emissions categories that countries use to report their data to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tends to significantly underestimate the contribution of food sector emissions by stove piping information and obscuring the broader impacts of the food sector, the researchers note.

  • The next IPCC report, which will start rolling out in August, may suffer from the same problem.

The bottom line: While the recent attention focused on the consumption of meat has made it seem like supply-side interventions are all that is needed, the reality is more complicated.

  • There are a variety of other emissions interventions that scientists say should be used to help limit the pace and severity of global warming, including, for example, improving the disposal of farm wastes and making food supply chains more efficient.

Go deeper

Al Gore's Climate TRACE finds vast undercounts of emissions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A high-tech independent effort to track greenhouse gas emissions from every country, industrial facility and power plant announced its first results on Monday.

Why it matters: Climate TRACE utilizes satellite data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to determine greenhouse gas emissions globally. It aims usher in an era of "radical transparency" and a more enforceable climate agreement by giving nonprofits, governments and the UN actionable intelligence to track and crack down on polluters.

Sep 16, 2021 - Science

How aquatic food could serve us

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Fish, seaweed and other aquatic food from the world's oceans and freshwater could help reduce malnutrition around the globe, a major new assessment reported this week.

Why it matters: The world is on two trajectories — the environment is being degraded and obesity and undernourishment continue to rise.

Updated Sep 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

UN climate summit warning signs are adding up

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There are growing signs that make-or-break climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this fall won’t produce tangible plans for emissions cuts that keep the Paris agreement’s targets viable.

Why it matters: The climate summit is billed by world and environmental leaders as the last, best hope for securing the global commitments needed to get countries on track to avoiding potentially catastrophic levels of climate change during the next several decades.