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)
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.