Synergy or trade-off? The economic and environmental efficiency of fossil-based inputs use of agricultural production

Senast ändrad: 22 februari 2024

Vivian Wei Huang.

In this docent lecture, I will talk about economic and eco-efficiency of fossil-based inputs use in Swedish agricultural production. Transition to a fossil free society is underway in Sweden, but the current energy shortage in the EU because of the pandemic and war has dramatically reduced supply and increased the price of fossil-based production inputs such as fuels and mineral fertilisers, which are still critical for agricultural production.

This has underlined the urgency of transition to fossil-independent farming to ensure a more resilient food supply. Transition to fossil-independent production in agriculture is also critical for significantly reducing negative impacts on the climate. Swedish agriculture has made significant progress in transition, but current agricultural production in Sweden is still highly dependent on fossil-based production inputs.

The Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) has suggested a roadmap for fossil-free transition to be 40 % fossil-free fuel for drying and heating by 2025, and 100 % fossil-free fuel for drying and heating by 2030. As a way to adapt to the fossil-free transition before fully achieving fossil-free production, farms should increase the use efficiency of fossil-based inputs.

Increasing productivity and resource use efficiency that is already underway are priority measures that have the potential to increase competitiveness in Swedish agriculture and meet climate goals. We therefore investigate the current combined economic efficiency and environmental efficiency in use of fossil-based production inputs, and analyze characteristics of farms that succeeds in combining high economic efficiency with low use of fossil-based production input in the current system. 

We will investigate and compare the climate impact in terms of mitigating GHG emissions and the economic viability for fossil independent farming transition, analyze the relationship between these, and suggest ways to improve economic viability through enhancing productivity while minimizing the climate impacts. This will provide a better understanding of the economic consequences and climate impacts of fossil independent transition.