Global estimations of the inventory and mitigation potential of methane emissions from rice cultivation conducted using the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Guidelines



[1] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regularly publishes guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories and methane emission (CH4) from rice paddies has been an important component of these guidelines. While there have been many estimates of global CH4 emissions from rice fields, none of them have been obtained using the IPCC guidelines. Therefore, we used the Tier 1 method described in the 2006 IPCC guidelines to estimate the global CH4 emissions from rice fields. To accomplish this, we used country-specific statistical data regarding rice harvest areas and expert estimates of relevant agricultural activities. The estimated global emission for 2000 was 25.6 Tg a−1, which is at the lower end of earlier estimates and close to the total emission summarized by individual national communications. Monte Carlo simulation revealed a 95% uncertainty range of 14.8–41.7 Tg a−1; however, the estimation uncertainty was found to depend on the reliability of the information available regarding the amount of organic amendments and the area of rice fields that were under continuous flooding. We estimated that if all of the continuously flooded rice fields were drained at least once during the growing season, the CH4 emissions would be reduced by 4.1 Tg a−1. Furthermore, we estimated that applying rice straw off season wherever and whenever possible would result in a further reduction in emissions of 4.1 Tg a−1 globally. Finally, if both of these mitigation options were adopted, the global CH4 emission from rice paddies could be reduced by 7.6 Tg a−1. Although draining continuously flooded rice fields may lead to an increase in nitrous oxide (N2O) emission, the global warming potential resulting from this increase is negligible when compared to the reduction in global warming potential that would result from the CH4 reduction associated with draining the fields.