There is a dire warning tonight about a greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide. It has hundreds of times more warming power in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. It comes from the nitrogen in agricultural fertilizer, which is used around the world to increase crop yields as eric sorensen reports.
It makes limiting global warming in the years ahead, even more difficult in farming, almost as important as planting seeds are the fertilizers that help them grow. Ian mccreery uses nitrogen fertilizers from these tanks on his saskatchewan farm.
Nitrogen fertilizer is, is a really important crop nutrient to improve our crop yields, as it is for crops all over the world, but a byproduct. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, and a new report says nitrous oxide.
Emissions are increasing faster than climate scientists ever envisioned. For nitrous oxide, we’re, increasing at a rate that exceeds um. The worst case scenario right now, which is pretty devastating.
Carbon dioxide is responsible for about three quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s, followed by methane and then comes nitrous oxide, contributing about seven percent, but it packs a punch. Nitrous oxide molecules are up to 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.
More than half of nitrous oxide emissions are natural, coming mostly from the soil human-caused. Nitrous oxide is almost 70 percent from agricultural production and overall nitrous oxide is accumulating in the atmosphere at an increasing rate, 10 percent greater than in the 1980s scientists say.
Nitrous oxide poses a serious threat to keeping global warming below 2 degrees celsius. Agriculture is one industry that gets climate change. Farmers spend their lives watching the skies they’re, seeing it in their own operations that the weather is more unpredictable, more extreme and more damaging.
The fertilizer industry is not disputing the harm. Instead, developing methods for farmers to apply fertilizers more efficiently to reduce runoff and emissions, so the idea is get as much of the fertilizer into the plant and then limit the emissions that are problematic for the environment.
In this country critics say, ottawa should do more from independent soil testing to investments in research and organic farming. If the federal government wants to be serious about fighting climate change, they really need to be putting putting food and agriculture at the top of the agenda.
Ian McCreary says he’d, like to use something that doesn’t produce nitrous oxide, but even scientists say that won’t be easy because increasing emissions come from agriculture and we can’t stop growing food.