As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) gets underway in Glasgow, a new report finds that synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought, outpacing even the commercial aviation industry. The report, from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Greenpeace and GRAIN, urges a swift transition toward more sustainable food production in order to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change.(No paywall)
There is a "reasonable indication" that domestic fertilizer manufacturers are being hurt by the alleged dumping of imported fertilizer in the United States, the U.S. International Trade Commission declared in a unanimous vote. As a result of the ITC vote, the Commerce Department will continue its investigation of imports of urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) from Russia and from Trinidad and Tobago.
Farmers around the world are using ever-larger amounts of nitrogen fertilizers to improve yields and harvest more food. But the synthetic fertilizers, along with manure produced by livestock and used as a natural fertilizer, are the "dominant driver" in rising levels of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere, said a paper published Wednesday in Nature.
Last summer, researchers from Mars Inc. and UC Davis announced the "discovery" of a variety of corn grown in Oaxaca that fixes its own nitrogen through mucus-covered aerial roots. Their study, in the journal PLOS Biology, touched off a debate—in Mexico and beyond—about the effectiveness of global policies designed to safeguard the genetic resources of indigenous communities, according to FERN's latest story, published with Yale Environment 360.
Rising ammonia emissions from farm animal waste and fertilizer are a major contributor to air pollution, causing death and illness around the world, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Ensia. “In the past 70 years, global emissions of ammonia have more than doubled,” writes Lindsey Konkel. (No paywall)
Seven million Americans who live in small cities and towns have worrisome levels of nitrates in their drinking water — below the federal limit of 10 milligrams per liter, but high enough to be associated with cancer in some studies, said an Environmental Working Group official. Craig Cox, head of EWG's Midwest office, said 1,683 communities had nitrate levels above 5 milligrams per liter and, when plotted on a map, they "crazily lined up with intensive agriculture."