Unlocking the unsustainable rice-wheat system of Indian Punjab: Assessing alternatives to crop-residue burning from a systems perspective
Crop residue burning in Indian Punjab emits particulate matter with detrimental impacts on health, climate and that threaten agricultural production. Though legal and technological barriers to residue burning exist – and alternatives considered more profitable to farmers – residue burning continues.
We review black carbon (BC) emissions from residue burning in Punjab, analyse social-ecological processes driving residue burning, and rice and wheat value-chains. Our aims are to a) understand system feedbacks driving agricultural practices in Punjab; b) identify systemic effects of alternatives to residue burning and c) identify companies and financial actors investing in agricultural production in Punjab.
We find feedbacks locking the system into crop residue burning. The Government of India has greatest financial leverage and risk in the current system. Corporate stakeholders have little financial incentive to enact change, but sufficient stakes in the value chains to influence change. Agricultural policy changes are necessary to reduce harmful impacts of current practices, but insufficient to bringing about sustainability.
Transformative changes will require crop diversification, circular business models and green financing. Intermediating financial institutions setting sustainability conditions on loans could leverage these changes. Sustainability requires the systems perspective we provide, to reconnect production with demand and with supporting environmental conditions.
Research news | 2023-10-03
Combining modeling and empirical research can give better sustainability insights
Mixing empirical methods and modeling can provide better insights into cause-effect relationships in sustainability, and improve governance
General news | 2023-09-19
New Google.org grant funds Centre research on AI-powered climate risk tool
Google.org has awarded five million US dollars to a group of scientists, including Centre researchers, to develop and scale ClimateIQ , an artificial intelligence-powered climate risk evaluation tool for cities
General news | 2023-09-19
Researchers and chefs team up for a sustainable lunch week
“Risotto on Swedish oat-rice, with apple cider vinegar, blue mussels from Bohuslän, parsley, and grated Svecia cheese”. That’s one of the science-cooked dishes that guests can enjoy at “A Planetary Lunch” — an experimental lunch week at Stockholm university
Research news | 2023-09-14
The SDGs are not on track — new report outlines what needs to happen
Humanity is set to miss the Sustainable Development Goals. But decisive and timely policy actions can kickstart extraordinary turnarounds and a giant leap toward achieving the SDGs
Research news | 2023-09-13
All planetary boundaries mapped out for the first time, six of nine crossed
For the first time, an international team of scientists is able to provide a detailed outline of planetary resilience by mapping out all nine boundary processes that define a safe operating space for humanity.
General news | 2023-09-04
Centre secures 28 MSEK research funding in two new Formas grants
The two grants worth 14 million SEK each will focus on the intersection of climate, water and biodiversity