1.3 Glasshouse fruit and vegetables

Glasshouse fruit and vegetables also contribute greatly to the greenhouse gases released by the agricultural sector and this is an increasing trend caused by consumer demand for out-of-season, fragile and exotic fruits and vegetables. Many commercial glasshouses are heated with gas, sometimes artificially lit and they use high volumes of water. Their footprint also reduces the amount of land that could have a function in sequestering carbon. Add air freighting into the equation and the greenhouse gas emissions rocket. This is explained in more detail in the report from the Food Climate Research Network (2008), Cooking up a Storm: Food, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and our Changing Climate.

However, glasshouse growing is a complex issue and new developments are being made that use renewable energy technologies, reduce pesticide use through biological controls and cut water use – all helping to reduce greenhouse gases. (For further information visit the British Tomato Growers Association's website.)

2 How will agriculture be affected by climate change?