Tools for prioritizing action

Mitigation Options Tool for agriculture

The CCAFS-MOT tool integrates published empirical models to emissions for different land use systems according to management types. Allows the user to rank mitigation potential of over 34 crop and livestock management practices, including geographic distinctions. Intended for decision-makers at the national and subnational levels to prioritize low-emission options in the agriculture sector. Excel-based, downloadable tool with minimal data input requirements (5-10 minutes). Developed by CCAFS and University of Aberdeen in collaboration with USAID.

Ex-Ante Carbon Balance Tool (EX-ACT)

EX-ACT provides ex-ante estimates of the impact of agriculture and forestry practices on greenhouse gas emissions and removals. Integrates information on agriculture and land use activities with IPCC Tier 1 emission factors, with the option to enter location-specific emission factors. EX-ACT is intended to help project designers and policy developers to prioritize project activities with high benefits in economic and climate change mitigation terms. Developed for application at the landscape scale, but can also be used at farm or (sub-)national scales. Format is downloadable Excel spreadsheet. Developed by FAO.

Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM)

GLEAM is a modeling framework that estimates environmental impacts from livestock supply chains. Developed to assess livestock’s impacts, adaptation and mitigation options at (sub)national, regional and global scales. Produces estimates of livestock numbers, production, and emissions at a spatial resolution of 3 arc minutes (circa 5 x 5km at the equator). Emissions are calculated using IPCC Tier 2 methods. Developed by FAO. The interactive version, GLEAMi, estimates greenhouse gas emissions in the livestock sector to support governments, project planners, scientists, producers, industry, and civil society organizations working on livestock and climate change.

Climate Smart Agriculture Prioritization Framework (CSA-PF)

CSA-PF aims to guide stakeholders in optimizing national and sub-national agricultural planning, by providing methods for:
– Identifying promising CSA practices in relation to key production systems
– Evaluating the context-specific outcomes of these practices
– Analyzing the costs and benefits of implementation, as well as barriers to adoption, and
– Identifying strategies that support the implementation of CSA practices on the field
The process generally takes between 4-8 months, but can be simplified. Format is downloadable guidebooks. Currently in pilot phase. Developed by CCAFS.

Cool Farm Tool

The Cool Farm Tool is an online, farm-level greenhouse gas emissions calculator based on empirical models and emission factors from published data sets. Includes emissions from processing and transportation. Allows growers to identify hotspots of greenhouse gas emissions within the farm and test alternative management scenarios. Allows food companies to estimate and manage greenhouse gas emissions within their supply chains. Developed by Unilever, the University of Aberdeen and the Sustainable Food Lab and maintained by a non-profit alliance of corporate partners.

GHG Mitigation in Rice Information Kiosk

GHG Mitigation in Rice Information Kiosk is a communication tool for information on greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation options in rice production systems and is part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Agriculture Initiative. It covers best practices for minimizing emissions of climate pollutants from agriculture while increasing productivity and improving food security and livelihoods. Resources include recent publications and research that cover management practices, data on farming technologies and practices, climate policy, information on current projects. Information is specific to focus countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, and Vietnam.

Emissions Overview tool (FAO)

The Emissions Overview tool reports gives emissions and trends in the AFOLU sector, subdivided by source categories, for one or more user-specified countries. It also contextualizes emissions within the  regions, continents and globally. It is based on the FAOSTAT emissions database. It aims to support countries in the preparation of NAMAs and NDCs. 

Quality Assurance/ Quality Control (QA/QC) and Verification Tool

The tool allows users to compare national GHG inventory data for the AFOLU sector reported to the UNFCCC with data from the FAOSTAT Emissions database. The tool can help countries improve their capacity to report the AFOLU sector in their National GHG Inventory.

The Manure Knowledge Kiosk

The Kiosk is a communication tool of the Livestock and Manure Management Component (LMMC) of the Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. This website presents a platform for sharing resources and news about manure management best practices.

SECTOR: Source-selective and Emission-adjusted GHG Calculator for Cropland

SECTOR is a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Calculator for cropland based on the IPCC Tier 2 approach. This tool is presently available in EXCEL and – as other GHG Calculators — requires inputs from the user on crop areas, yields and management. SECTOR has been developed in response to increasing interest in mitigation studies in cropland, in particular rice production. The tool offers a high range of flexibility in terms of sourcing emission and activity data as well as selecting a range of scales for aggregation. Moreover, SECTOR provides a streamlined framework for accelerated data input that will facilitate rapid assessments of multiple scenarios for domains with many spatial units.

Accounting tools and methodologies

Smallholder Agriculture Monitoring and Baseline Assessment (SHAMBA) Tool

The tool enables users with minimal technical expertise to develop estimates of climate benefits from changes to smallholder agricultural practices in line with the green house gas accounting requirements of the Plan Vivo Standard. It makes a process-based soil carbon model (Rothamstead Carbon Model) available for smallholder carbon project monitoring. Freely downloadable software (web-based interface in development). Developed by University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with CCAFS.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodology for manure management systems

This methodology is applicable to manure management on livestock farms where the existing anaerobic manure treatment system is replaced by a manure management system that results in fewer GHG emissions compared to the existing system. It is intended for monitoring of CDM projects. The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold. Format is text guidelines. Developed by CDM.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodologies for agriculture

CDM provides methodologies for: – Rice cultivation – Livestock – Manure management – Fertilizer management – Mulching These methodologies are intended for monitoring of CDM projects. The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold. Format is text guidelines. Developed by CDM.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Agriculture Guidance

The Agriculture Guidance is a supplement to the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Standard. Combined, these documents provide guidance for agricultural companies developing a GHG inventory, but can also apply to other types of organizations. Format: Text guidelines. Developed by World Resources Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

USDA methods for greenhouse gas estimation

Describes methods established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for GHG estimation from farms and forests. Recommends a single method for quantifying GHG emissions/sequestration for each particular source category (e.g., CH4 from rice cultivation) determined from the activity data, published emission factors, and accounting methods and tools typically available for the farm/forest scale in the U.S.

Global database of GHG emissions related to feed crops  

The FAO GHG database on feed-crops is a global database of emissions, emission intensities and life cycle inventory for 5 main crops: maize, wheat, barley, soybean and cassava. It can be used by a wide range of users including the livestock industry, researchers, governments and others in need of data for analysis, awareness raising, planning, etc. Users will find the database an easy-to-use tool that provides downloadable information on emissions and emission intensities for the 5 main crops disaggregated by production system, agro-ecological zone, country and region.  

FAO free online courses

These free online courses cover topics in the areas of food and nutrition security, social and economic development and sustainable management of natural resources. All courses are designed for self-paced learning and can be downloaded. Resources and reading material links are available. There are some courses that offer multiple languages but there also some software restrictions. Relevant courses include:


Agro-Chain Greenhouse Gas Emissions (ACE) calculator

The Agro-Chain Greenhouse Gas Emissions (ACE) calculator is a tool for estimating total GHG emissions associated with a food product. It addresses the most common stages of “linear” agro-food chains (chains for fresh and simple processed products: canned, frozen, packaged and other minimally processed forms). It combines a calculation framework with datasets containing crops, greenhouse gas emission factors and food loss factors along the chain. The default data that the calculator derives from the dataset may be overruled by the user if more specific data are available; this would make the calculations more case-specific.

2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories

The IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories are the official guidance used by Parties to the UNFCCC in preparing their National Communications and Biennial Update Reports.  They were developed through a politically-oriented process to synthesize the best available science on greenhouse gas estimation. This most recent version of the guidelines was released in 2006. The relevant volume for agriculture is Volume 4: Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use.

Tools for reducing the cost of data collection

Open Foris Collect Earth

Collect Earth is a tool that enables data collection through Google Earth. In conjunction with Google Earth, Bing Maps and Google Earth Engine, users can analyze high resolution satellite imagery to support land use and land change assessments or collect and analyze spatially explicit data. Downloadable software; requires Google Earth plugin. Developed by FAO, with multiple collaborators.

IIASA-IFPRI Global Cropland Map

The Global Cropland Map shows global cropland percentages at 1 kilometer resolution for the year 2005. Developed by integrating a number of individual cropland maps at global to regional to national scales, such as GlobCover 2005 and MODIS v.5, regional maps such as AFRICOVER and national maps from mapping agencies and other organizations. GIS raster image file (1km x 1km resolution). Developed by IFPRI and IIASA.

Livestock Geo-Wiki

Livestock Geo-Wiki provides 2005 global distribution maps of cattle, pigs and chickens, and a partial distribution map for ducks. It updates the Gridded Livestock of the World (GLW) database produced by FAO in 2007. Can be used in as an input into analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and livestock-related land-use change, such as in the GLEAM model. GIS raster image file (spatial resolution of 3 minutes of arc; about 5×5 km at the equator). Developed by FAO, ILRI, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

FAOSTAT Emissions Database

The FAOSTAT Emissions Agriculture database provides country-level estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on FAOSTAT activity data and using Tier 1 computations, following 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Country-level data, downloadable in Excel or .csv format. Developed by FAO.

Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD)

HWSD is a global soil dataset that provides 20 soil properties for two soil depths (0-30 cm and 30-100cm), including soil organic carbon pool. HWSD combines existing regional and national updates of soil information with the information contained within the FAO-UNESCO Soil Map of the World. Format is a GIS raster image file (1km x 1km resolution) linked to an attribute database in Microsoft Access. Developed by FAO with IIASA, ISRIC-World Soil Information, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSCAS), and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC).

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