Fertilizer research

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 213–225 | Cite as

Methane and nitrous oxide emissions: an introduction

  • A. R. van Amstel
  • R. J. Swart
Article

Abstract

Methane and nitrous oxide are important greenhouse gases. They contribute to global warming. To a large extent, emissions of methane and nitrous oxide are connected with the intensification of food production. Therefore, feeding a growing world population and at the same time controlling these emissions is a great challenge. Important anthropogenic sources of biogenic methane are wet rice fields, cattle, animal waste, landfills and biomass burning. Important anthropogenic sources of biogenic nitrous oxide are land-use change, fertilizer production and use and manure application. The ultimate objective of the Framework Convention on Climate Change implies a stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. As a small first step towards achieving this objective, the Convention requires the industrialized countries to bring their anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases by 2000 back to 1990 levels. It was also agreed that all parties would make national inventories of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and programmes for control (UN, 1992).

In this context, in February 1993 an international workshop was held in Amersfoort in the Netherlands to discuss methods in national emission inventories for methane and nitrous oxide, and options for control (Van Amstel, 1993). A selection of the papers presented in Amersfoort that focus on agricultural sources is published in this volume. This introductory chapter gives background information on biogenic sources and sinks of methane and nitrous oxide and options for their control. The goal of the Climate Convention is described as well as the IPCC effort to develop an internationally accepted methodology for the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks. Finally, some preliminary results from country inventories are given. It is concluded that a common reporting framework and transparency of the inventories are important to obtain comparable results that can be used for complying with the requirements of the Climate Convention and for facilitating the international debate about appropriate response strategies.

Key words

Methane nitrous oxide emission inventories climate change greenhouse gases 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. van Amstel
    • 1
  • R. J. Swart
    • 1
  1. 1.Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en MilieuhygieneBilthovenThe Netherlands

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