By Josh Gabbatiss
Levels of overlooked greenhouse gas are up to 45 times higher in fields that are only flooded intermittently
Rice farming is known to be a major contributor to climate change, but new research suggests it is far bigger a problem than previously thought.
Techniques intended to reduce emissions while also cutting water use may in fact be boosting some greenhouse gases, meaning the impact of rice cultivation may be up to twice as bad as previous estimates suggest.
Considering the importance of rice as a staple food crop, providing more calories to the global population than any other food, the researchers have recommended ways to adapt farming practices and make its cultivation more climate-friendly.
The main culprit is methane, a potent greenhouse gas emitted from flooded rice fields as bacteria in the waterlogged soil produce it in large quantities.