Friday, April 19, 2024

Nitrogen fertilizers are jeopardizing agricultural climate goals, new study finds

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The expanding use of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture is pushing nitrous oxide emissions to levels that jeopardize climate goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement, according to a new study published in Nature. 

Nitrous oxide — a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide — remains in the atmosphere longer than a human lifetime. Its use has risen 20 percent from pre-industrial levels and accelerated in recent decades, with alarming implications for climate change, researchers found.

“The dominant driver of the increase in atmospheric nitrous oxide comes from agriculture, and the growing demand for food and feed for animals will further increase global nitrous oxide emissions,” explains study lead author Hanqin Tian, director of the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research at Auburn University in Alabama. “There is a conflict between the way we are feeding people and stabilizing the climate.” Read more…

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