Why nitrogen management is key for climate change mitigation
The environmental interest in nitrogen (N2), an essential component of the air we breathe, focuses on the conversion of N2 into other chemically reactive forms. Some are vital for life itself and some cause costly and dangerous nitrogen pollution.
“Altogether, humans are producing a cocktail of reactive nitrogen that threatens health, climate and ecosystems, making nitrogen one of the most important pollution issues facing humanity,” the 2018-2019 Frontiers report warns. “Yet the scale of the problem remains largely unknown and unacknowledged outside scientific circles.”
The European Nitrogen Assessment identified five key threats of nitrogen pollution: water quality, air quality, greenhouse-gas balance, ecosystems and biodiversity.
Growing demand on the agriculture, transport, industry and energy sectors has led to a sharp growth in the levels of nitrogen pollution and related greenhouse gas emissions. nitrous oxide (N2O) from industry and combustion, for example, is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
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