Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA logo

IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

John-Gale cropWhilst it seems that walk outs by developing country delegates last njosirt and the environmental groups today seem to have dominated the media new this morning. One important piece of news on greenhouse gas mitigation has gone somewhat unnoticed. The news in question is a report published by the UNEP which was delivered at a press briefing at lunch time.  The report is entitled, “Drawing Down N2O to Protect the Climate and the Ozone Layer”. 

The report emphasises that N2O

"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 at the press briefing.  "Although not as prevalent in the atmosphere as CO2 in terms of mass, N2O - commonly known to many as 'laughing gas' - is far from a laughing matter in respect to climate and ozone damage as 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. Action on these emissions offer yet another opportunity to keep the world under a 2 degree C temperature rise," he added.

Agriculture is by far the largest source of human-induced N2O emissions, accounting for two-thirds of these emissions. Meanwhile, other important sources of N2O include industry and fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning and wastewater.

Read the full report at: The full report can be downloaded at