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Nitrogen Fertilisers Helping Drive Climate Crisis

Posted on 18 February 2020

Carbon dioxide is already recognised as one of the main drivers of the climate crisis, but the lesser-known nitrous oxide is actually much worse. It’s an incredible 265 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and it weakens the ozone layer. Plus, it remains active for over 100 years. 

Nitrous oxide emissions have been increasing significantly over the past few years, with new research led by the CSIRO showing that emissions around the world are higher and growing more quickly than are being reported. This is largely because nitrogen fertilisers have become more widely used. When nitrogen fertilisers mix with soil, a microbial reaction takes place and nitrous oxide is released into the air. Because so much nitrogen fertiliser is being used in farming, it’s causing a huge increase in nitrous oxide emissions. 

Luckily, countries around the world are realising the harmful effects of nitrous oxide. More regulations are being put in place to reduce the use of nitrogen fertilisers and find other ways of supporting crops.