Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

UN sounds alarm over ozone-damaging nitrous oxide
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) Nov 21, 2013

Levels of nitrous oxide, a gas that both depletes the ozone layer and stokes global warming, could nearly double by mid-century, the UN warned on Thursday.

"We need all hands on deck to combat the serious and significant increases in N2O [nitrous oxide] levels in the atmosphere," UN Environment Programme (UNEP) chief Achim Steiner said in a report coinciding with the world climate talks in Warsaw.

Analysis by scientists from 35 organisations found that NO2 is now the most important ozone-depleting gas and the third most powerful greenhouse gas being emitted into the atmosphere, UNEP said.

On current trends, NO2 concentrations will rise by 83 percent by 2050 compared to 2005, the experts found.

NO2 exists naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts, released as part of the exchange of nitrogen between the land and the air.

But levels of it have zoomed in the past decades, driven mainly by industrially-made nitrogen fertiliser in agriculture, pollution from road transport and emissions from the chemical industry.

The gas damages protective ozone molecules in the stratosphere, which help shield Earth from dangerous ultraviolet light.

It is not one of the substances included in the 1987 Montreal Protocol designed to phase out a range of ozone-depleting chemicals.

NO2 is also a potent greenhouse gas, being more than 300 times more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) in trapping solar heat. A molecule lingers in the atmosphere for around 120 years before it degrades.

With agriculture accounting for two-thirds of man-made NO2 emissions, there is plenty of potential to reduce emissions through more efficient use of fertiliser, UNEP said.

Measures could include scrapping studies that encourage the overuse of nitrogen fertilisers, and making nitrogen pollution carry a price tag, perhaps through tradable permits.

Switching to a less meat-based diet would also help, as the production of animal protein leads to far higher NO2 emissions than plant protein, the report said.

These and other measures could save the equivalent of 800 million tonnes of CO2 in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020.

That amounts to around eight percent of the "emissions gap" -- meaning the gulf in carbon pollution that must be narrowed to meet the UN's target of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, UNEP said.

The negotiations in Warsaw wrap up on Friday, concluding an 11-day annual round under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UN members have pledged to forge a global pact by the end of 2015 that will roll back climate-damaging gases and channel aid to poor countries.


Related Links
All about the Ozone Layer

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Ozone pact helped cool the planet: study
Paris (AFP) Nov 10, 2013
A slowdown in global warming that climate sceptics cite in favour of their cause was partly induced by one of the world's most successful environment treaties, a study said on Sunday. The UN's Montreal Protocol, designed to phase out industrial gases that destroy Earth's protective ozone layer, coincidentally applied a small brake to the planet's warming, it said. Without this treaty, Ea ... read more

NASA Spacecraft Begins Collecting Lunar Atmosphere Data

Big Boost for China's Moon Lander

Rediscovered Apollo data gives first measure of how fast Moon dust piles up

NASA's GRAIL Mission Puts a New Face on the Moon

Winter Means Less Power for Solar Panels

Unusual greenhouse gases may have raised ancient Martian temperature

How Habitable Is Mars? A New View of the Viking Experiments

Rover Team Working to Diagnose Electrical Issue

NASA Advances Effort to Launch Astronauts Again from US Soil to Space Station

Israeli experts launches space studies course for teachers

Success of 'New Space' era hinges on public's interest

NASA Issues 2014 Call for Advanced Technology Concepts

China shows off moon rover model before space launch

China providing space training

China launches experimental satellite Shijian-16

China Moon Rover A New Opportunity To Explore Our Nearest Neighbor

Russians take Olympic torch on historic spacewalk

Russia launches Sochi Olympic torch into space

Spaceflight Joins with NanoRacks to Deploy Satellites from the ISS

Crew Completes Preparations for Soyuz Move

Spaceflight Deploys Planet Labs' Dove 3 Spacecraft from the Dnepr

Arianespace orders ten new Vega launchers from ELV

NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX Achieves Milestone in Safety Review

ASTRA 5B lands in French Guiana for its upcoming Ariane 5 flight

NASA Kepler Results Usher in a New Era of Astronomy

Astronomers answer key question: How common are habitable planets?

One in five Sun-like stars may have Earth-like planets

Mystery World Baffles Astronomers

Overcoming Brittleness: New Insights into Bulk Metallic Glass

SlipChip Counts Molecules with Chemistry and a Cell Phone

NASA Instrument Determines Hazards of Deep-Space Radiation

$3.3 billion Canadian mining project scrapped

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement