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Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions:

Planet-warming nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions grew by 40 percent between 1980 and 2020, according to a new report published by the Global Carbon Project.

  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) commonly known as laughing gas or happy gas, is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable
  • While nitrous oxide is not flammable, it will support combustion to the same extent as oxygen.
  • It leads to a state of euphoria, explaining its nickname, ‘laughing gas.’
  • It is soluble in water. Its vapors are heavier than air.
  • It is commonly used by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
  • The gas is also used as a propellant in food aerosols.
  • It is used in the automotive industry to enhance engine performance.

Highlights of the Report:

  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is the third most significant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane and is 273 times more potent than CO2 over 100 years.
  • The increase in greenhouse gases has already raised the Earth’s average surface temperature by 1.15 degrees Celsius compared to the 1850-1900 average.
  • Anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions contribute to about 0.1 degrees of this warming.
    Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions grew by 40 percent between 1980 and 2020, with China being the largest emitter, followed by India and the US.
  • The top 10 emitters are China, India, the USA, Brazil, Russia, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Canada.
  • The biggest human sources of N₂O are agriculture, industry, and the burning of forests or agricultural waste.
    74 percent of the nitrous oxide emissions over the last decade originated from agricultural practices, specifically the use of nitrogen fertilizers and animal manure.
  • In 2022, the concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere reached 336 parts per billion, 25 percent higher than in 1850-1900, significantly surpassing the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.