N2O emissions could double by 2050 - Unep

2013-11-22 11:31

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Warsaw - Nitrous oxide 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.

Nitrous oxide emissions into the atmosphere are currently around 5.3 million tons 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 fertilisers, less meat consumption, and improved waste water treatment are some ways to cut N2O.

Radiative properties

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

The Kyoto Protocol climate treaty includes N20 among the greenhouse gases the world has to reduce to fight global warming but more aggressive efforts are needed, Unep said.

"We need all hands on deck to combat the serious and significant increases in N2O levels in the atmosphere," said UN Under-Secretary-General and Unep Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"It has a disproportionate impact on global warming because of its radiative properties and long lifetime in the atmosphere, which is 120 years on average," he added.

Delegates from around 195 nations are meeting in Warsaw for a UN conference, due to end on Friday, to work on greenhouse gas emission cuts under a new climate pact to succeed an extension to the Kyoto Protocol after 2020.

Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, including N20, hit a record in 2012, the World Meteorological Organisation said this month.

Although less potent than carbon dioxide or methane, N20 is often overlooked and could undermine efforts to prevent the ozone layer depleting, the report said.

The ozone layer shields the Earth from the sun's harmful rays and has begun to recover from depletion over the past couple of decades due to curbs on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halogenated chemicals.

The Unep report was produced with scientists and experts from more than 35 organisations.


Read more on:    un  |  unep  |  poland  |  climate change

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.