04 December 2013

Drawing Down N2O
To Protect Climate and the Ozone Layer

A new UNEP Synthesis Report highlights the role of N2O, laughing gas, as a greenhouse gas and destroyer of the ozone layer, and discusses options for tackling its sources. IIASA's Wilfried Winiwarter, a lead-author of the chapter on emissions from industry and fossil fuel combustion, says: "Technical means to mitigate N2O emissions exist".

While, on the global scale, industry contributes clearly less to total N2O emissions than agriculture, measures on industrial sources offer the advantage to be easily accessible and implementable. The study, introduced at the recent UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, identifies a set of measures which could reduce emissions to less than half compared to a business-as-usual case, with industrial and combustion emissions being reduced to a third. Recently opened industrial plants for production of adipic acid, however, in practice fail to apply the effective and cheap measures available since two decades, thus significantly compromising the previous success stories.  Proper incentives are needed to guide developments, as Prof. Winiwarter points out.

The full report is available from the UNEP web site.

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Last edited: 13 January 2014


Wilfried Winiwarter

Senior Research Scholar

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases

T +43(0) 2236 807 479

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313