Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nitrous Oxide Emissions Could Double by 2050 -UNEP

Greenpeace activists fix a banner on the Palace of Culture and Science demanding protection of the Arctic region and the release of the so-called ''Arctic 30'' group during the 19th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw November 21, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel) Click to enlarge.
Nitrous oxide (N20) emissions could almost double by 2050 if more aggressive action is not taken, undermining global efforts to curb climate change, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Thursday.

Commonly known as the "laughing gas", nitrous oxide exists naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. However, it is the third most potent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane due to human activities such as agriculture, fossil fuel combustion, waste water management and industrial processes.

N2O emissions into the atmosphere are currently around 5.3 million tones a year but this could almost double by 2050 if efforts to cut the gas are not increased, the UNEP report said.  More efficient use of fertilizers, less meat consumption, and improved waste water treatment are some ways to cut N20.

Emissions could be cut by 1.8 million tones a year from 2020 and the benefits could be worth over $160 billion annually across sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and electricity production, UNEP said.

Nitrous Oxide Emissions Could Double by 2050 -UNEP

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