UNEP warns that nitrous oxide is a threat to ozone layerListen /
The ozone layer which protects the Earth from much of the sun's destructive radiation is under threat from emissions of nitrous oxide which could nearly double by 2050.
This warning comes from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report issued in Warsaw, Poland during the ongoing conference on climate change.
UNEP says that nitrous oxide or N2O is an often overlooked, yet potent gas whose emissions can undermine gains in the recovery of the ozone layer and exacerbate climate change.
The report, titled “Drawing Down N2O to Protect Climate and the Ozone Layer”, says nitrous oxide is now the most important ozone-depleting emission.
According to the UNEP report, N2O is also the third most potent greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere.
It points out that while N2O exists naturally in the atmosphere in very small amounts, human activities have increased its concentrations since the Industrial Revolution.
The report says N2O emissions are connected to diverse economic sectors from agriculture, chemical manufacturing and electricity production to waste management, transportation and fish production.
It says reducing these emissions could bring environmental, climate and human benefits worth an estimated $160 billion per year.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.